Black Man Poetry By David M. Taylor

Black Man Poetry

I used to write black man poems
about being black and a man.
But my words were discarded
in digital trashcans by white editors
wanting more—
a reason to demonstrate they understood
injustice and poverty,
food stamps and a dream deferred.

So I wrote about dreadlocks and marijuana,
stories about drunken fists shattering
my twelve-year-old bones
by my father who struggled
against the shackles of history,
the rage of being less than.

I said my brother was high,
got shot for being black
while walking across the street
to our barren apartment.

But then that didn’t matter–
I was simply a black man writing
black man poetry.

Luckily Ferguson became hip
and white people paid better
when I talked about how black lives matter,
commercialized history chained
black men to textbooks,
whitewashed oppression and apartheid.

And I wrote about black fists penetrating
swollen skies and teargas raped
broken neighborhoods
while school children hid under
their beds until morning came.

But I finally ran out of John Singleton plotlines
and talked about how the Cosby Show
made me believe in the power of education,
the audacity to want more than
twenty minutes in an afterschool special.

I said my parents were both doctors,
that I never grew up wanting—
my story was as simple as childhood.

And then Bill Cosby turned out to be a rapist.

This poem was originally published in Trailer Park Quarterly 

By David M. Taylor


I teach at a community college is St. Louis, MO. My work has appeared in various magazines including Trailer Park Quarterly, The Harrow, and Anthology, as well as upcoming in Misfit Magazine. I also have three poetry chapbooks—M&Ms and Other Insignificant Poems, Two Cobras in a Ritual Dance, and Life’s Ramblings.

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