< Verse Daily: Afro-Seattleite Fragment #17: Love Letter To Macklemore by Malcolm Friend ®

Today's poem is by Malcolm Friend

Afro-Seattleite Fragment #17: Love Letter To Macklemore
        —after Marcus Wicker

Your music saved a shy Black boy
from conversation.
When I think of you,
it's usually morning carpools.
The absence of conversation
between me and Kevin,
how I kept wishing for the hour-long
bus rides because I could Jean
against the window, no expectation
to talk to anyone.
I didn't really want to listen to you.
You were 2Pac minus
Black Panther parents,
Snoop Dogg raised in Capitol Hill.
At some point you seduced me.
Something about a white boy
owning his privilege
and condemning our city racist
eased the hours I spent
in your Capitol Hill.
And Kevin was Filipino,
so that meant something, right?
I rocked to "White Privilege"
and "Claiming the City,"
called them 206 anthems in college.
I could un-feel Smitty and Mark's
rough hands in my hair.
All those white boys
who buried their fingers
in my scalp, those shovels
digging into me,
thinking they'd find something
I was hiding. Claiming me.
Reminding me no space was mine,
not even this body, always trying
to un-nap my roots,
these clumps of hair
forming fists on my head,
this body curling into fist
on the bus back to the South End.
I never imagined you
as guilty,
mistook your attempts at penance
for confessions of love
and threw myself at you.
And isn't that,
your guilt earning my love,
isn't that the beauty
of seduction?

Copyright © 2017 Malcolm Friend All rights reserved
from mxd kd mixtape
Glass Poetry Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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