The 5 Senses of Being Black

It smells like..
Fried chicken baked in bacon grease
Like collard greens
Like stringbings
Like baked beans with beef filled with heart disease
Like pig intestines
That all but one eats

Tastes like six cheesecakes

Made from scratch
Taste like heaven just dissolved in your mouth
Tastes like warm recipes passed down from grandma
That don't need a measuring cup

Sounds like
Popping grease
and oven dings
Sounds like Mama singing
and being yelled at not to dance around

So the cornbread doesn't sink

Feels like that smack when trying to lick the icing
Feels like that burning hand and narrowed eyes
Feels like greasy fingertips that never get fully cleaned

Looks like big pans
and food so pretty you don't even wanna eat it
But damn sure you dig in
Looks like crispy cornbread 

and glistin’ macaroni

Sounds like that sssssss aaah!
When your hair's too thick
and Mama broke the comb
And the teeth get lost in your hair

Feels like that smack upside the head
When you doze off in the middle of mama oilin it
Feels like that yank!
and the cool metallic end of the comb
Rising up all the hairs on the back of yo neck

Looks like two huge  puff balls and Vaseline
Slathered all over that big forehead
And chapped ips
And ashy fingertips

Smells like grease made from other hair grease
that mama found around the house
Smells like flower scented chemicals
And hairspray


Taste like..

Something you'd rather not taint your tastebuds with
Or the bland taste of vaseline

Looks like hysterical laughter and bent over wheezes
Looks like kids too wild
Looks like quick foot movements 

and some fashions never seem to go out of style
Looks like handshakes that consists of fist dabbing and hip bumps

Feels like smooth dark chocolate
poured all over almonds
Feels like calloused hands 

and sandpaper without lotion
Feels like tension and always wanting to be better than the rest


Smells like blood, sweat, and tears after a hard day 

of playing in the back alley

With your bucket basket rim and paper balls
Smells like hot cheetos 

with cheese, nachos

Sounds like loud enough to be heard
Sounds like basketballs bouncing against  the earth
Sounds like “Hallelujah thank ya jesus”
on Sunday mornin

Tastes like sweat saltier than the sea
Taste like tangy with a bit of attitude 
and a sprinkle of sweetness
Taste like dark chocolate and honey, bittersweet

Looks like self-hatred

manifested in the form of class clowns


Feels like walking paths as broken as our

 pre planned futures
Feels like walking in someone else's shoes

 no matter 

How hard you try to make your own

Smells like fear of cultures not too similar to our own,

Smells like disappointment, 

Never quite good enough for a job higher than blue collar

Taste like flames when holes are burned into our skin
just to see if we're the same color underneath
Taste like our names are too foreign for a Word Document 

It always gets autocorrected

Sounds like pop rocks and gunshots on the same day
Sounds like body bags became a living thing,

 or rather The Walking Dead

Looks like dirt

Feels like earth

Smells like fear

Tastes like strength

Sounds like unison

This poem is about: 
My family
My community
Our world


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