& spend money I don’t have. I’m all out of fake
names. My waist still aches from the zombies
who mistook my twerk for home cooked meal.
I’ve spent all week adjusting my eyebrows,
lifting the weights beneath my cheeks. I’m exhausted
from giving white people chances, from handling
masculinity with care, from wrapping bandages
around gunshots that never touched my body.
Everyone will ask how I’ve been. No one will tell
me about the booger in my nose. I would go, but
Grammy’s still dead. “Everyone passes“ you’ll say
& promise me some bullshit about time, forget
today was a lottery I could still lose.
I’ve wasted enough outfits on making living look
appetizing. Tonight no fart will marinate on a
bar stool, no tear will boil in line for the bathroom.
I am not looking over my shoulder, but under this
plush fort where my bowl of ice cream is a goddess
that backbends & jerry curls.
Maybe I won’t score love’s digits, but tonight I am
headwrap over heels. Masturbating to the clank
of locked doors.
About the author:
Nicole Shanté White is definitely the quiet one yo mama warned you about. Currently residing in Brooklyn, this cluster of Midwest accents and Southern hospitality writes, dances, and teaches from a black queer womanist lens. She is a recipient fellowships from Poets House, Willow Arts Alliance, and The Poetry Project. Her work can be found in Wussy Mag,The Feminist Wire, 92Y, Glitter Mob Mag, Wall Street, and Yes, Poetry. Nicole Shanté is a contributing staff writer for Sula Collective, a Work/Study Fellow at the Mark Morris Dance Center, and a Writer in Performance at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. This Brave New Voices alumna has performed at several notable venues, but would rather you be impressed by her functional addiction to Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream.