- Birth, mark, and: Niggas in Paris*
when I think I am not my mother’s child,my mouth betrays me, I carry herfuck you flung at my facea knuckle in my cheekbone, I spit out fingers.She gave me a crescent scar, swung a wire hangeracross, I should have had the abortionyour low-life father wanted,drags me by my rag doll heart each time,passes a palm down her stomach,lifts her shirt above the waist,yells look at me, look at the damage—I came into this world a stain, a stone, a c-sectionthe soft terror fleshed out of her body.I could have stayed in there forever,stretched her skin into translucence, my windowseat to pastoral weeping, I left herunder-belly glisteningthe welt of a wound wornwithdrawn, shrinking into—I watched her smear cocoa butterabove her hips, hands pulsing of vinesalong the groove of strias, tending the umberlightning bolts in the rhythm of pouring,of my being here.I am the sort of animal that needs to be held,ruins the hold, tears the body apartlimb by limb, satin strands of skin ripped opensuffer, shame, sacrifice hum in the headas if heirloom or honor or hurt—a vexed tongue can be a pistol, a loaded barrel of insultscan be ears bleeding. A testimony of regretunborns youungrateful piece of shit.When they were two bodies laid togetherheaving each other’s breath [End Page 386] did my parents pause to make me?I want to hunt down the secondjust beforeand live in the I love you, of the quiver.Was it rapture or mere spasm?Did they pray, did they exhaledid they say amen? [End Page 387]
NIGGAS IN PARIS*
Yannick wants to devour me. He searches my last name for a bloodline. Oversees my jerk. His eyes own me. He reaches for Toulouse in the dent of a curl. The bend over. My great grandmother fights for her conquered body in a twirled strand, or maybe she wanted the blanched animal thrusting atop her. My ringlets, the frizz, tangled genes.
L’homme brings me to Le Gibus in Republique, wears Hip Hop. A costume. He imposes a hand on my lower back, whispers you’re my little tenderoni in my ear.
Fall back. I’m lonely. We feed on whiskey, taste each other on the dance floor.
I’m in his bed. I want to belong to someone. Somewhere. We wrestle in the heat, howl, halt. He tours the fields of skin, fixated on the hull. Black as art. Nothing more. A fetish, I am a statue. He doesn’t call. I’ll forget his name. [End Page 388]
AJA MONET BACQUIE, a Brooklyn, NY, native, has received a number of honors for her participation in poetry slams. A 2009 graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she received the MFA in creative writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2011). With Saul Williams and Dufflyn Lammers, she is one of the authors of Chorus (2012).
* after Kimberly