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gxrl gospel ii: when thrown against a sharp white background

By Aurielle Marie

After Morgan Parker
After Glenn Ligon
After Zora Neale Hurston

I always   feel  Black, y’ know? | I close my eyes at night & the tar behind
     them lids | ain’t nearly as dark as me | I wake to a thousand white daggers

darting ocular | It’s Only Sunlight Baby my lover laughs | I wanna feel
       most colored when my lover calls me baby | her eyes quelled

   into half-moons | Instead my color join us in the aisle @ Target | a
       white man barreling toward us | & spits | Nigger Dykes he says

    & I’m all Yea? Ok But You Ain’t Gon Beat My Ass! | I tryna avoid
  incarceration & it ain’t working | Or it is | I refuse to elegy & I’m grow-

ing weary of fighting | I am knuckled into concrete, white schools | Is
      mine a body kept alive by white repute? | some of the poets call these

jails | and others pipelines, or warzones | I’m inclined to agree | I been
     told I got promise when I write | about fucking | instead of bullets | Promise

     meaning a poem so beautiful, I must not be tragically Black |
 however drowned I am | by white noise | when calling for help | an officer arrives,

his gun drawn at me while my weapon melts | I mean, my mouth leaks
   blood | Am I armed, then | or, breathing? | Am I a threat to the nation

or a small nation of risk | or a threat to a nation of risks | or any way,
      an inconvenience | Colored | Loud | Or colored? | I am sharpened

against | a flint of white rage | Or how dare you say women & exclude
   the white ones | I’m fighting the idea of police & fathers | Or else I am dreadful &

mad | I’m salacious & ever stuck on old shit, or a shitty writer | Perhaps
        it’s true | Perhaps I feel my nigga & | color it but what I mean is

I’m cocky | I think I know betta | the Target security guard walks us to
       our car | says women like us have to be discreet | I’d like to think he meant

       safe | I feel most colored when I realize it’s dangerous | to explain
       myself | casually | I feel most colored | when someone make it clear

ain’t nothing bout me relaxed | It ain’t simple: I’m colored & proudly line
       my bed with women | which is perhaps the saddest | Blackest praise

I’m colored bitch or baby | in the streets | I critique colored | I color
    formally | I form the poem | poem the critic | I flint or fleck color

I set it aflame | I perform white | into a bed and fuck it | I’m dirty after | I
              don’t shower | I call the police | pigs | & build my politic

in jazz | I dance wild | don’t touch the floor issa jungle | I have no race &
    this ain’t my country | ain’t got skin in it | I’m so dark | I’m the cosmos

    &  | you can’t catch the Blues or pronounce my name without biting
            your tongue | don’t touch | can’t feel me | less you colored

like me | can’t pin me to a wall | or chain my hands to my feet | or make
            me translate | you can’t even see me | I’m so colored, I’m

invisible | I widen my legs & disappear | you think you shutting |
     my mouth | you just endorsed my shit | feel me? | against a wall

I am colored & | This A Stick Up | against her chest I am colored | Oh
         Please, Oh Yes | When I beg I’m colored | When I’m broke

too | when I have children | when my womb is barren | I’m so nigga, I
       ain’t got no name | I answer to the titles of books

                    Call me heavy | Or magic | Or achilles
                            Call me bestiary | Or homie
                                                  | Or hull.




Listen as Aurielle Marie reads "gxrl gospel ii: when thrown against a sharp white background"

Added: Tuesday, December 6, 2022  /  Poem used with permission. This poem appeared first in the December 2021 issue of Poetry Magazine.
Aurielle Marie
Photo by: Keyonna Calloway

Aurielle Marie is a Black and Queer poet, essayist, and cultural strategist. They are the author of Gumbo Ya Ya which won the 2020 Cave Canem poetry prize. She is a child of the deep south and the Black griot tradition. Aurielle was awarded the 2022 Lambda Literary Award in bisexual poetry and is the 2022 Georgia Author of the Year. A genderqueer storyteller, Aurielle writes about sex, bodies, state violence, and The South from a Black Feminist lens.

Image Description: Aurielle, a genderqueer poet, appears in a black-and-white photo mid-performance at a mic, wearing Ankara fabric and a "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA" t-shirt.

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