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i flipped a table once.

By Roya Marsh

cups, plates, scattered
spaghetti massacre on laps.
all the restaurant alert
&this ga'damn tv
sayin' WE lost!

white girls vanish
the whole world grit they teeth,
but a black girl's disappearance
warrants city wide curfews;
a second silencing
60 black girls ghost      //
in the nation's capital
&my phone never rang about it!

64,000 in the world
&Lady Gaga ain’t sanging bout it.
whole world a stop motion.
freeze frame.
stand still.

just that final gust of wind
that kills the candle.
*shiiiiit, WE already dead.

ain't no "epidemic"
of people being snatched.
it's a rite of passage.
every gentrified brick is
another brown future
collapsed into rubble !

no one told the Black girl
"see you later" was a prayer
begging us survive our own erasure.

they finna celebrate our absence
with silence. no sense
in giving white media the right to speak
for us

ain't no siren
news segment
no forest fire
or biblical flood
coming to make us anew

if nothing has tried to kill you
you have failed
bullet be to black body
like our body be nothing at all
ain't no video of our maim & murder
cameras couldn't capture our kidnapping
our mama’s tucking in a phantom
at night
an invisible vigil
a memorial
for the girl
the world has already forgotten

we gotta be our own
I'm fighting for you
got my eyes & ears peeled
knuckles bare & bloody
you ain't gonna never be alone
long as my heart
got rhythm

go Jesus in the temple on em'

let them hear our battle cry
let's crash this
private lynching
let loose our noosed neck
leave the gawking crowd
when black girls
rise from the dust
they make of us

I'm crying your name

I'm looking for you
even if no one else is
call back
come back


yeah, i flipped a table once
fucked they whole shit up//
and i'd do it again
if that's what it takes for y'all
to see us




Listen as Roya Marsh reads i flipped a table once.

Added: Friday, September 15, 2023  /  Used with permission.
Roya Marsh
Photo by LaQuann Dawson.

Bronx, New York native Roya Marsh is a poet, performer, educator and activist. She is the author of dayliGht, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry. She works feverishly toward Queer liberation and dismantling white supremacy. Roya is the co-founder of the Bronx Poet Laureate, a PEN America Emerging Voices Mentor, Lambda Literary faculty and an awardee of the Lotos Foundation Prize for poetry.

Roya’s work has been featured in numerous places including The Academy of American Poets, POETRY Magazine, The Village Voice, NYLON Magazine, Huffington Post, The Root, Button Poetry, BAM, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Apollo Theater, Lexus Verses and Flow, On One with Angela Rye, BET and The BreakBeat Poets Vol 2: Black Girl Magic.

Image Description: Roya Marsh stands in front of a vintage bookshelf and ladder at the Andrew Freedman Home. She wears a swaggy green suit with a bright blue patterned button-up shirt and yankee fitted hat.

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