Spoken Word and I go back a long way, and have a very…complicated relationship.
But some words just can’t stay on the page. This was written to be performed as spoken word poetry, so I recorded it as such.
If you’d like to hear me, please click the picture below:
I should have married the boy I fell in love with in 3rd grade
I’d be living in a big house in Brooklyn
Languid back yard days balanced with jive smoky Blue Note nights
Bedroom walls covered in laminated clippings
testaments in black and white
like me and Jamie
His drumming made me wet when I was 8, and he was 9.
Staten Island, Stapleton projects, and cause we were the only white family at 67 Hill Street I kissed a baker’s dozen of black boys
to see, if they tasted different.
Jamie was special
smelled like Raisinets
P.S. 14 talent show king
Drum solo arms moving fast, blurring his red and white shirt pink
His mouth was soft honey
We played doctor with a vengeance
And I knew jungle fever before I knew puberty
before it was called jungle fever, and it was still called, “NIGGER LOVER”
Fierce housing project princesses, scary lionesses who leaned over their desks to growl at me, “just let me get you”
who chased me down and beat me up
because I was too
I was too too too too
Too skinny, too nerdy, too smart, too white
But Jamie loved me.
He loved me all the way through junior high
Mother, smacking my face hard, cause she wanted me to marry her white wet dream,
A Jewish doctor named Leonard,
hung like a hamster
Extravagant Rolex taste to overcompensate
for his Timex dick.
stayed together all the way until that day
Italian boys from Rosebank chased us down
deserted train tracks.
And while I screamed for help
banged on his arms with a crowbar until one
And when we broke up there was a soap opera storm of heartbreak and entropy
I was too young to fight that fight
my own private battles were enough
I waved goodbye to Jamie, going off to find fame at High School of Music and Art in the city,
leaving me behind to grow inevitably up and out of there
and expand my repertoire…
to Spanish boys.
Spanish boys with smooth skin and soft, fat, wet tongues.
Latin men who forbid me to wear mini dresses on the street and hissed at me in bed
A Puerto Rican man turned me inside out
stole my heart for half a decade
still has not returned it
I spent hours days years with him in his Spanish Harlem hideaway
drenched in spicy salsa sweat that I didn’t know was mine or his
interrupted by phone calls from my mother
trying to hook me up with a white broker named Howard
who couldn’t move on a dance floor or groove in a bed
who could play the stock market but not my body
and who turned whiter than he already was when I lost a burgundy Lee press on nail,
Up. His. Ass.
Senoritas on 106th,
pink foam curlers
red toenails glittering under that hot sun,
look me up and down
And the home boys in his hood? talked about this gringa in a language I couldn’t even understand
because after 5 years all I knew was
chupa me mi gran pinga
mi mujer, me corteja,
mi PUTA BLANCA!”
(I always liked that puta blanca one)
and when we broke up, there was a soap opera storm of heartbreak and entropy
I was too old to fight that fight
My own private battles are enough
Recycling old pain, always to find, like laundry
light and dark, do not mix.
you talk to me at the bar until a sister saunters over and then I pale in comparison
listen to the banter in a language I can’t share
yes I know ‘fly phat fresh kick it, dope, ait?’
But they sound stupid off my lips.
I’m just this white girl
What could I have to say?
She’s just this white girl – from Staten Island?
Who let her in here, anyway?
yeah, I am too too too too
but I’m white enough to be your puta blanca
white enough to be your trophy wife
white enough to get this skinny project ass kicked
white enough to suck your big black dick
white enough to spend a lifetime ashamed of my skin
yet always trapped on the outside looking in
see, I’m always
trying to groove in a scene where there’s no in-between
there’s just black and white and that ain’t right
Or maybe I’m wrong.
But I feel I don’t belong.
And I should have had the guts to marry that boy.
I’d be living in that big house in Brooklyn
let him drum his laughter into my brain, to amnesia the pain
laughing at the projects
and the landords that reject us
the cab he can’t flag, until I put out my hand.
let him inhale me with his love
and with that sweet, sweet sweet 9-year-old color blind honey mouth
lick these tears from my face
lick this poem
Have you ever felt like an outsider? Like you don’t belong fully anywhere?
Have you ever felt excluded because of the color of your skin?
Talk to me. I’m listening.