Please Find Attached Two Poems

Poetry on Race

Poems of the Race Issue

Ijoma

by Taibat Adeyemi

I learnt more about life in the marketplace than I did at school.
And Ijoma was my guide.

How to bargain,
ignore catcalls,
persuade,
pretend,
smile,
which skin colour was worthy of love.

Ijoma’s yellow smooth skin were the envy of many
And the knowledge made her whole
Her dark knuckles reminiscent of what her skin used to look like.

She visited women that sold bleaching cream
Women with dark knuckles and burnt yellow skin
Women who sang to other women with little girls by their side
“The brighter the skin, the smaller the struggle”
“The brighter the skin, the earlier the marriage”

There I was at six watching Ijoma scrub at her skin
Praying for the colour to go away
Rubbing poison on her being
An advocate for the yellow skin
A guide of another that will wish the brown begone

I learnt more about life in the marketplace
Lessons I teach myself to unlearn daily
With hopes that young girls that were guided there, love all the women in
themselves they’ve hated, mocked and shamed.

Whyte Passing

by Aysha White

we’ll always have to be a little quieter
he explained to me as cars swished past cafe paris

quieter in order to be heard the same way
whitewashed walls where you’re supposed t— hush

words used in the evaluation:
works with door closed, judgemental,
does not hesitate to share her opinion
(hesitate more said two
cold cobalt eyes across the imitation wood desk)
we feel like we’re
w a l k
i n g
o n
e g g s h e l l s

words of wisdom
never impressed on the rainbow of palepinkpeach
colleaguesaquaintancesfriendsloversfamilymembersetcetcetc

“I’d love to see you in a sari” (sounds like?/two syll/first syll)
what can I tell you about that?
at the time I hadn’t worn one.
I’d been eagereager as a little girl
until the usual mild injustices
Kind of beige girls like me
“face”
took over and I teenage told my mother
no I’ll wear this cocktail dress dad bought me at nordstrom

(I’m fine)

there was a whole narrative arc. I “found” myself. I wore a sari to a wedding. I’m still kind of beige and most others have it worse.

(I’m fine)

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