shoulda coulda woulda

me lightI shoulda coulda woulda been born a browner human being so I wouldn’t have had to endure a lifetime of being called light, bright, damned near…I coulda been born browner if the right mix of melanin swam to the surface shot shot shot spurt from a brother my dad to my mother, the light, bright, damned near…woulda been browner had my father chose a woman who didn’t represent the very thing he has hated all his life, life, life, those white white white white and yet here I am the bright, damned near… I shoulda coulda woulda been a more browner beautiful earthy thoughtful authentic black, black, black, stay back, instead of this light, bright, damned near…

I shoulda coulda woulda been happier more like the rest of the browner boys and girls in my neighborhood, my family, palette from brown to light, bright, damned near…in and out of fashion, never really sure what anyone saw, used to being taunted so much that I don’t even like light, bright, damn near…I dig my hands in the brown, brown earth cover my face in tip tap tongue lick lick lick it wet wet wet it mud mud mud supple and slide my tongue between black, black, black…I shoulda coulda woulda been smarter had I listened in class but instead I listened to all the things I thought I heard you say…you said light, bright, damned near…holes in the shoes, holes in my knees of my pants, see my knees, see my light, bright, damned near…knees…holes in my head nothing stays in…have to recall remember recite to keep the information from dripping out the yellow holes in my head…browner sturdier thinking keeping all the smarts in their heads while all the things drip out of my yellow head thinking so much about everything…thinking…thinking…not good…thinking…recall the way I feel when I put on my clothes on my holey clothes shoulda coulda woulda had more money mamma, shoulda coulda woulda been more happier, mamma, shoulda coulda woulda left him, mamma, shoulda coulda woulda been happier mamma shoulda coulda woulda been somewhere by now, mamma I drag you through the streets of my mind mamma thinking about what we shoulda coulda woulda had had you done what you promised said promised said you’d eventually do, mamma what did you do mamma, all you did do, mamma, was to stay light, bright, damn near…but you were right, right, right, mamma, you hated the light, bright, damn near…longed for the browner thoughts that soiled the sheets, did you like the browner beautiful earthy thoughtful authentic black, black, black, did you like to dig your light, bright, damn near…hands in the brown, brown earth cover your face in tip tap tongue lick lick lick it wet wet wet it mud mud mud supple and slide your tongue between black, black, black…did you ever feel like anything other than a color mamma, a color, a thing, a something, a representation whispered and chuckled and gasped and humphed who mamma who mamma who told you you were right? who told you mamma nobody ever told me I was right mamma never trusted anyone enough to tell me the truth because I was light, bright, damn near…stayed in the brown spaces craving the curve and cradle of soot, blue-black, brown, to hold me against him tell me I was right tell me mamma was this my lot mamma… I dig my hands in the brown, brown earth cover my face in tip tap tongue lick lick lick it wet wet wet it mud mud mud supple and slide my tongue between black, black, black and want it more than my face want it more than anything I shoulda coulda woulda been something more than what I am today help help me help me help me stop wanting to drag along your bones mamma help me stop wanting to want want it want it want it

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