Issue 5 / Poetry

Poetry by Aricka Foreman

Monologues in Bars By White People With Good Intentions

I love your hair You always wear such interesting things What did you do before this Wow are you from Detroit What was that like Tell me what your thesis is about That sounds really powerful Your poem tonight was really intense You’ll appreciate this, you know, since you’re kind of ghetto You worked so hard you made it So what did you think about that Junot essay I’m suspicious of poems with an agenda, that have a certain aboutness Explain what you mean when you say risk I’m really uncomfortable I went to Detroit, well Dearborn, and it’s amazing how cheap the houses are No, it’s a really cool town Are you a Tigers fan That city is having a hard time, for sure I lived there once when I worked for Teach for America How do you feel about people who claim Detroit but aren’t really from there I really love your hair Is your work always so intense That line is a little melodramatic I’m not as smart as you but I thought rape was about sex What do you mean it’s hard to date I mean you’re here Rap is about music let’s not make it about race Oh come on, I only call people I love my nigger I don’t mean this to sound racist but You don’t seem like you date white guys but I love how our skin looks when I hold your hand and I like women who live a natural lifestyle and You’re so well spoken Wow you’ve really read a lot Ithaca must be way different than what you’re used to You can breathe now, you made it




I Got Mad Love

There are no Drew Barrymore’s in my film

adaptation. Lovers watch me spin into

snow lines of static, leave with the front

door open. I won’t cut out the eyes

of magazine girls, paste them to my wall.

Instead, watch Youtube videos on how to

crown my locs electric then bruise men

without permission. I masturbate before

dressing for work, beat my face for the gods,

keep purple eyeliner in the clutch. Sit in traffic,

punch a clock then smile like I own a thing or two.

When I bleed, I drink beet juice and pray for

a reason to clap back. Laugh loudly: joy.

Pay a bill on time. Pretend memory is not a

hangover. Find a cure. Viola Davis my way

through a room with no wig. Call you bigot

to your face. Keep my hunger for pushing

my fingers against the wall of a lover’s writhing.

I’m feeling myself on the dance floor,

in the bedroom of my witching hour. Light

the mother’s candle, hope I don’t salt to ground.

I hope. Eat collards out the pot, drink its liquor.

Let lover’s welt my body for tomorrow’s blue

pleasure. Don’t look for Chris O’Donnell to save

me, he was a shitty Robin anyway. It’s not

the 90s anymore. Except for this dark matte,

the way I rip my jeans. Some days

when I am brave, I walk to the train without

headphones. I wish a bitch would tell me to smile,

the arrow of my brow cutting their spleen out.

On my best days, I take my sheer black bra off

before the deadbolt slides shut. Pour myself a glass

of red wine, let it stain my tits. Roast a chicken

and suck the salt off every finger. Live.




Consent Is A Labyrinth of Yes

1. To the boys on the playground who played grab and run.

2. To the friend’s father who stands dark in the doorway, asks her

to stay, television glow casting shadows across his face.

3. A grandfather whose hands find the youngest of the stock.

4. Grabbed her breast at the kitchen table

5.  A grandmother removing him from the scene by his collar.

Beats him with his cane.

6. The family almost talks about it.

7. The women kneel for prayer. Protect mine, Lord, for they do not

 know what is not their fault: to have an organ that takes

and spits back out.

8. To the only lover who told her no after too much gin.

9. To the og who preferred her that way. Adds woman to

the first time she takes when she wants to.

10. She never wants to have children this way but does.

11. History is a dangerous legacy.

12. Learning he says.

13. A woman digs up her name from her throat. The water

from it washes out the mouths of what came before.

14. A grandmother is triggered back to her body blued, locked

in a room. A mother remembers the double barrel echoing

her silence.

15. Nothing stands still. Darkness and light. Her salt body, dark

and shimmer. Its perfect doing. Her unafraid.


Aricka Foreman’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Drunken Boat, Vinyl Poetry, Minnesota Review, Thrush, Day One, RHINO, pluck! and Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation by Viking Penguin, among others. She is the Enumerate editor for The Offing. Her chapbook Dream With A Glass Chamber is forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2015. Selected by Oliver de la Paz.

Image © l.blasco via Flickr Creative Commons.