Angry Black Woman
By Nonnie Egbuna
I am a poet.
I chain words, lines, and stanzas to utopian hallucinations of freedom bells drowning out terrified screams
And sometimes, I can’t even bring myself to raise my hand in class.
But I’ll show you angry.
It is etched into the cracks and the crevices of my skin—
Can’t you see it?
It drips from the saliva that sometimes escapes my lips when I spit these verses that few people feel me on anyway—
Can’t you taste it?
It is the weight that forces me to hold my own weight,
to stand on my own two feet—
Can’t you feel it?
I know you feel it.
You know I feel it
When all the brothers who look like me are forced to feel the burden of a bullet
Or a chokehold
Or a disappointing stare
Or a noose.
You know I feel it
When all the brothers who look like me
Won’t love the sisters who look like me.
I’ll show you angry.
It is in the earthquake that arises from my throat when I speak from the depths of my soul—
Can’t you hear it?
It is in the stench of the sweat that drips from my forehead as I run out of time and out of patience—
Can’t you smell it?
It smells a little bit like open bullet wounds in the heat of the summer sun
Or like teargas thrown to tantalize the night.
I am tired.
So I’m sorry that I can’t represent the entire black community in your class today—
I just didn’t get enough sleep last night.
I just didn’t get enough peace last night.
But yes, I will show you angry.
Angry is the twin to lonely.
It looks a lot like being the only black woman in the class and avoiding eye contact with everyone whenever the topic of race comes up.
Angry is akin to isolation.
It is the conscious effort to live outside the bubble of privilege and elitism and PWI “diversity” statistics.
Angry is otherness.
It is namelessness. It is voicelessness. It is real shit reduced to being just another mad black woman.
I will show you angry.
But be aware that there is nothing more ferociously beautiful than melanated female rage.
I will wear my pain like decoration across my flesh
And I will smile at you in passing so that you don’t feel the need to shy away at the sight of me.
But I will still be angry.
I will always be angry.