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New Leaders Council

Love Poem in Progress

Love Poem

(in Progress)


My girl Britt asked me to put together a piece for her show

My girl Marisa was like, do it, you got this, trust me I know


My girl Jess was like, YOOO write about your wife

I thought, great idea because Kelly’s the one who keeps me grounded in this life


Plus, Valentine’s Day is coming up and I need a gift

So I’ll use my talents and gifts 

to write her something that fits 

into my goals about shopping hella thrift


Let me wrap up some words with a bow and pass them from my lips to her heart like BAM

Girl, I love you, you make me happy, you warm me up inside like that Thanksgiving honey roasted ham


Just kidding, just started and I’m already going ham

Real talk though, let me get back to this love po-am


In Progress


So sometimes when I want to get serious I go right to the jokes

That’s natural for me when we start talking words that are spoke


I want to be serious, sentimental and sweet

But I’m feeling like my grandmother who spent her days cleaning and cooking for white folks, aw lawd, all day on her feet


See, I’m tired. I’m done. I’m spent.

Writing this love poem in progress is harder than figuring out what the fuck I want to give up for lent


Again, it’s not about Kelly over there looking beautiful and being my rock

It’s about the fact that to write about love, I have to look in the mirror and radiate self-love from my wet curls to my patterned heart socks


See, we’ve all heard that story about how to love others you have to love yourself

But how do I love myself when I exist in a world that tells me who I am isn’t worthy of love


In Progress


During a typical day, I have people calling me sir, crossing the street when they see me, grabbing their purse when I pass

But then feeling like their male privilege can still make it okay to comment on my beautiful black ass


I’m trapped in this body that’s not quite woman, a little too much man

Grandma worked for white folks all those years, because God has a plan


But I don’t get it, what’s that plan and does it include me?

Speaking of plans that might or might not care about me, what’s really good Hills? Bernie?


I don’t even need to mess with Trump

He’s said enough to make me realize that as a black woman, I’m insignificant, like my breasts, they’re right here, these small two lumps


That’s right. My boobs are small, my ass is fat, my hair is thick

Sometimes I wonder if I’d be more loveable if I had a dick


But then would I be a dick?


Maybe but that’d be okay, because then I might not be gay

I might not be this genderqueer, queer angry black chick


You know how we be

Feeling that bern

But experiencing layers of sexism, homophobia, racism, at every turn


Let me break it down real quick, without the jokes

I have to be funny, chill, laid way the fuck back like I just smoked


Otherwise I come off as a threat

At that point if you think I’d make it past my 20s you’d be losing a bet


That black threat is dangerous, we can’t make it, even when we fake it

I got my Stanford degree, my house, my white chick


But when a cop is looking for some suspect, his suspect, I’m suspect. It’s me that still gets picked

When I’m driving in my car, riding my bike, and walking down the street

I’m always aware, alert, and looking down at my feet


I know the rules, not too much eye contact, just give other black folks the nod

Because if you have too much confidence, smile too much, whatever…you get stuck in the crosshairs of that popo trying to play god


At this point, you’re thinking what happened to that love poem, the one that was in progress

It’s trapped inside.  It’s deep.  And yeah, I’ve fucking digressed


I’m getting agitated, I don’t feel like love, I do not love myself

Because I live in a world that tells me I’m not worthy of being loved


I’m worthy of jail. I’m worthy of death. I’m worthy of being used as a political platform. I’m worthy of singing and ball playing for your entertainment.


My formative years taught meant what B means when she says put hot sauce in your purse and get in formation

My formative years taught me why the white man calls Queen B a bitch and curses her to damnation


How do I love myself when I look in the mirror and see what causes so many others fear

How do I write a poem about love when loving myself is a destination I don’t know if I’ll ever get near


How do I love myself when my people are dying

How do I love myself when my people call me an uncle tom for trying


How do I love myself when living in neighborhoods with people that look like me means dealing with bullets and war

Or finding zero fresh groceries in the corner liquor store


How do I love myself where school is just a pit stop to prison

How do I love myself when people aren’t woke and aren’t ready for the blacks that have risen


How do I love myself when I still haven’t gotten my reparations for that cotton my people picked?

How do I love myself when the undershirt I pick everyday is from that same cotton—just stitched?


How do I love myself when the only black women who have ever loved me, hit me or raped me

How do I love myself when I’m not sure if I’m more comfortable when people refer to me as she or he


How can I love myself when I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up

How can I love myself because we’re taught we’re not destined to grow, but destined to have signs we throw up


How can I love myself when no one notices a black woman until she’s gone and we #Sayhername

How can I love myself when this capitalistic society teaches me to aspire for money and fame


How can I love myself when all lives matter—except mine

How can I love myself when my mere existence is like being a magical negro defying space and time


How can I love myself when the white girls dated me to try something exotic and new

Then started appropriating my culture and saying, we need to break up, just do you, boo


How can I love myself when everyone is saying be straight?

How can I love myself when everyone is saying make your hair straight


Oh all right. We straight, I got this, I know who I am

I also know who this world wants me to be

That funny, nice black chick, right?

No more of this angry dyke


Pull back

Where’s that love poem?


In progress


In the time I wrote this poem, practiced this poem, and just said it here

How many black moms lost their kids, shot for sport like deer


Those of us with skins a little darker know how hard it is love that image in the mirror we see

Palestine, projects, the rez any where across any tracks or sea


Our love for our self?

In progress


So let me calm back down, let me get this smile and these dimples back

Don’t get twisted, I love being black


The question to how can I love myself? I just do


In Progress


This world has made me hard, grow up too fast, grind, hustle and code switch too

But best believe, Kelly Louise, a lot of making it through these days is in large part because of you


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