Black & Kinky Amongst Brown Waves

poem of the week: black history
April 24, 2012, 11:55 am
Filed under: family, self reflection

this is a piece I started in February and did not get around to finishing. there is some research I need and want to do to deepen this narrative. There was some apprehension about going to this dark place, but I have learned that we need to lean into our fears and open wide our mouths until the truth drips out.


black history
(c) 2012 by margaux delotte-bennett

knowing that my people’s people are from the idyllic isle of Jamaica does not erase that there is an auction block somewhere in my past

I want to know the height and depth
wood grain and color of this pedestal
used to showcase the wares that would eventually become me

broad shoulders
strong back
long and sturdy legs

how did dripping sweat and spilled breast milk mark the wood made smooth by chain clad, shuffling feet?

can wood also absorb the moans/ fear escaping throats/ eyes that narrowly avoided strangulation and hot pokers?

against my will there is an auction block in my past
Jamaicans don’t talk about at what price paradise was bought
or why I have a French and/or Spanish last name
or why my grandma’s red hair and freckles are repeated on varied faces throughout the island

I know that finally owning myself requires that my past does not define me
but forgotten or not
the wood block remembers
and still
splinters my heart


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Beautiful and powerful, like a reckoning.

Comment by Alicia Dickerson

your poem truly depicts the legacy that we inherited . Uncle John first made me aware that we came from slaves and even slave masters. Great piece you’ve written
much much love
auntie Nesta

Comment by Nesta stephens

The term inherited legacy really resonates with me… I definitely want to learn and write more about this subject.

Comment by kinkywaves

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