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Tell us duh one bout dem chirren and duh bullets dey eat
Tell us duh one bout dem roaches makin love to yo feet
Tell us duh one bout yo grandmammy’s hands:
callused and cookin, cansuh everywhere but her hands
Tell us bout her mouf too: “Oh Lawdy Jesus” “Wrench around…”
“Bout scared me half to DEATH” she make purty sounds
Tell us duh one bout white people cuttin you
in line [ did yuh neck do that back
and forf thing finguh waggin
lips lippin “nuh uh no she di-int”]
Tell us duh one bout duh woman duh rope and duh bridge
[O dere was a baby dat fell out and bumped its head
on duh waduh followin duh drinkin gourd
Is you submittin to my journal or nah?
You spoken word or nah?
You hopin whitey gets his just due
flippin duh bird or nah?
Savage poem, aggressive and shit, beastly comeuppance
all da boys in duh hinterland dead
cause uh duh hoodie monster
You gots anymo uh dem po-lice poems wit duh
Hippity Hop refrences wit dem thugs and da trees?
I sho love me some Hippity Hop refrences
But why thugs always smokin on dem trees
Don’t dey know dey histry is
to run from burnin trees?
Duh way you write nigga makes me thank [of] my mama
Tell us duh one bout music comin from duh eyes
Was dat “Purple Rain” or “Duh Coluh Purple” or is it a suhprise?
Tell us “stolen milk,” “watch my chirren when I’m gone,”
“Don’t let him see me dis way,” “I’m so glad Jesus is my home!”
Got anymo uh dem poems bout Celie?
Got some “Give us us free”
in yo packet, yo pote-folio, or yo spahklin CV?
How much fo duh WIC-EBT-lost-bus-card sonnet?
How much fo slave wenches wearin waduh-melons as bonnets?
What you got up in dat verse what you got up in dat verse
[a couple uh guns/ a couple uh blunts/ a couple uh suicide
doors/ Dior chokers/ all duh shit you adore?]
Dat one gets me so hard/wet at night in duh dahk
Duh dahk got a poem too soundin jus like a knife
slidin through some cone-bread
Soft as a baby
Tell us duh one again bout duh baby
“They sure do love them some black pain” quoted from Morgan Parker
Phillip B. Williams is the author of Thief in the Interior, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and winner of a 2017 Whiting Award. He currently teaches English and Creative Writing at Bennington College.
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