Saturday Sep 23

taifreedomford t’ai freedom ford is a New York City high school English teacher, Cave Canem Fellow, and Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Drunken Boat, Sinister Wisdom, No, Dear, The African American Review, PLUCK!, Vinyl, and others. t’ai lives and loves in Brooklyn, but hangs out digitally here.
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self-portrait exaggerating my white features
            after Glenn Ligon


don’t my sentences end up like questions?
ain’t these blonde hairs on my forearm pretty?
don’t my small mouth rattle off suggestions?
ain’t my skin sunburnt     attitude shitty?
don’t my eyes glow light brown in the sunlight?
ain’t the bottoms of my feet light skinded?
don’t my brand of skinny incite gunfights?
ain’t my life where black boys began? ended?
don’t my fine aesthetic dictate fashion?
ain’t my facial expression self-entitled?
don’t my family tree pale in comparison?
ain’t my pedestal high and unrivalled?
ain’t my nose all narrow and aquiline?
don’t i got Indian in my bloodline?




self-portrait exaggerating my black features
            after Glenn Ligon


my hair be a graveyard of black fist picks
my hair be a locked bag of magic tricks
my eyes be like two machetes shining
my eyes be like cosmic stars divining
my nose be like a magnolia tree
my nose be like Harriet black and free
my nostrils be flared toward yardbird perfume
my nostrils be aware of tree root’s doom
my mouth be like Malcolm at the window
my mouth be like a weeping willow
my teeth be a full clip of hollow points
my teeth be like arrows with sharpened points
my tongue be a tambourine rattling
my tongue be a house nigga tattling