Two Days After 11/9


I took a walk outside today, 
the helicopters are done 
with surveillance, protestors 
left burning roofs smoldered,
the tears of motherfuckers, down. 

Bright nigger stars cause novas
in the parking lot, dice roll, 
they exhale their Prop 64, 
and I want someone to say
something magical to me,
like they’re a bouncy house
ready to soundbite their way
into believing this was not
our country a week ago.

How do we get out this
mind fuck? No more forest
for our common expression
and so there is nothing
between us and seeing 
blood on our hands. 

We are Gandas for Propa,
participants throwing up signs,
walls we paint our dead
and hear the wailing. Infrastructure
crumbling, police trained to war—
                                               on stacks
                                               on stacks
                                               are trillions.
We’re so coggish, 
made into recliners—
ride us numb, prescriptively.
We giddy-up and erase.

One night, we turn
back the sheets, and there’s
a chuckle—we are doing it again!
This game, a choice of evils:

                bombs we drop
                drones air strikes
                no fly border patrol
                pipeline petrol natives
                terrorize strip resources
                rape dollar launch codes

Residents of divided, tripping on
basic needs, it’s a constant
state of alert, running in place
like a Flashdance. So taxed
are our brackets, our heads
talking parentheses, we can’t stand
adjective black before our lives. 
We fondle our disconnect. 

Labia majora, please. Hilarity—
your surprise is the choreography
of ideological strings, like that sandwich
between Church and State, the way
God keeps inserting, and female
is the truth that every institution
wants to omit. 

See now what we wanted to forget.
Hierarchies make us part biological 
and The Man’s construction.
There are capitols, cabinets,
courts, departments, tracks, 
rows, hauls, houses, shotguns,
shacks, and temples amongst 
the skulls and bones, capillaries,
synapses—government insisting it takes
providence in your body’s becoming. 

Beat a brow and let it be
your blame—you nasty women,
sinful men, electors have chosen,
the Party has stolen votes 
from those with criminals’ names. 
Broken into a million pieces, now 
slip your heart through the cage.


Photo by Nye Lyn Tho.

Cave Canem fellow Arisa White received her MFA from UMass, Amherst, and is the author of Black Pearl, Post Pardon, Hurrah’s Nest, and A Penny Saved. She teaches in the low-residency BFA program at Goddard College and is a lecturer at San Francisco State University. She will be the distinguished visiting writer in residence at Saint Mary’s College of California in Spring 2017. You’re the Most Beautiful Thing that Happened is her newest collection from Augury Books.