Rumpus Original Poetry: Three Poems by Morgan Parker

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Magical Negro #1: Jesus Christ

They make his eyes that color

so he can seduce you. Literally

every white boyfriend tender

until they’re not. Y’all know

that nigger was a nigger.

Y’all know those whores

were whores. Sometimes

I go to the sink for water

and I come back with a jar

full of wine. Every second

I breathe, I forgive.

 

Parker’s Mood by Charlie Parker

I am only as lonely

as anybody else, I say

at lunch downtown, examining

my worth. It isn’t

summertime. At the end,

 

“Lilac Wine” by Eartha Kitt vs. “Lilac Wine” by Jeff Buckley

How many men
before I understand. I don’t want to

but I do. Invade.
Try to breathe

from their mouths.
The master’s tools—

I have them.
The house is getting too big.

My people—there’s style,
there’s misery.

The finest imports. Tender,
bittersweet. I want to build

a reef for us, fill it
with arrows.


Morgan Parker is the author of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé and Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night. In 2019, a third collection of poems, Magical Negro, will be published by Tin House, and a young adult novel will be published by Delacorte Press. Her debut book of nonfiction will be released in 2020 by One World. Parker is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a Pushcart Prize, and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. She is the creator and host of Reparations, Live! at the Ace Hotel. With Tommy Pico, she co-curates the Poets With Attitude (PWA) reading series, and with Angel Nafis, she is The Other Black Girl Collective. She lives in Los Angeles. More from this author →