National Poetry Month Day 6: t’ai freedom ford

By

t’ai freedom ford is a New York City high school English teacher and Cave Canem Fellow. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Drunken Boat, Sinister Wisdom, The African American Review, Vinyl, Gulf Coast, Tin House, Poetry and others. Her work has also been featured in several anthologies including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, Bettering American Poetry 2015, and Nepantla: An Anthology of Queer Poets of Color. Winner of the 2015 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize, her first poetry collection, how to get over, is available from Red Hen Press.

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ain’t

suddenly these poems bore me these sentences
this syntax     these lines fragments    wagging they fingers
at me     this ironic ebonics       this king’s English
bastard cockney bores me    these knock-kneed line breaks
this rhyme:   internal     identical     metrical
Shakespearean especially boring      whoring
some eternal infamy     bores me      surely this
diction      these dictionaries     we call brains     call tongues
call mother      these similes       ain’t bulletproof      niggas
still dead as dead niggas       still black niggas as black
as black is—     this bores me snores me to sleep     but sleep
is not dead     amen      i wake up but this woke bores me
this writing      this documenting      this archiving
this truthtelling      this shaming the devil     this
publishing   (exclusive or nah)     ain’t a cloak           ain’t

a savior    (jesus or otherwise)       ain’t a time
machine threatening reverse              ain’t a nurse      ain’t
a witch       ain’t no magical stitch to hem up all them
wounds—      boring     every TV’s blackface laughing at me
bores me       this prosody    this scansion    these lyrical
miracles glowed up on the page      ain’t a suicide
bomb       ain’t blowed up nothing corporate      ain’t fed nobody
hungry        ain’t nothing but a happy meal trap anthem
for the whiteboy singalong      they mouths all neon coil
these rhythms all African      these stanzas all white
& gaping        this shiny MFA thesis      this poet
laureate lux       this Pulitzer bling      this Pushcart
hustle     this blacktie book award ain’t nothing
but a funeral        a hymn         a dirge      a eulogy

an apology      an afterthought so boring
i could cry      could fuck      could boogie       could whiskey
could die right fucking here  could die could die could die
could die could die could die could die—   bored AF &
waiting for these promising poems       these
impressive missives       these polished sonnets   to save me
to give me my entire life      to be bread & wine
loaves & fishes      manna &  mango nectar but
they ain’t ain’t ain’t ain’t ain’t a sledgehammer    ain’t
a deliverance       ain’t a resurrection     a rewind
button      a second thought     a benefit of the doubt
ain’t—   ain’t—   ain’t shit       but words shined to a sequined shimmy
now gimme my fucking fellowship        my POC retreat
my space amongst the trees        my university
position          my cup runneth over        ain’t nothing
______to see here—


Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →