The World Is Yours
We are drunk
though we won't admit it
stumbling home soaked &
burning for each other's wine
blossomed bodies, opened
like the snap of a bottle’s long neck
and I am ready to wear your skin
on mine like a coat of dark fur
ready to take you back to
before we had names
but instead we argue
about who is the best emcee,
a debate I might have relished
in college, brought my knowledge
brashly to the surface like a strange
cat clawing it’s way out of my mouth,
the great question of our generation:
which hip hop album bangs hardest.
which most accurately describes the
black American experience.
I don't want to be arguing,
but I am hooked by some
kind of nostalgic ownership,
how when we were young
we hoarded albums feeling
they were only ours.
I remind you that I am American.
You remind me you are black.
I know better about this all, than to argue
my ignorance while inebriated and when
you say I am white it is a simple fact
that anyone can see, but feels like a cuss,
so nasty in the mouth & I close my eyes
to escape this moment, transported back
to my high school bedroom where words cut
me open & the beat swept me into its dangerous
womb & someone allowed me to wear this sheep's
wool I might still be wearing when I wrap my hair
& you ask please not tonight, if one more mother
fucker side eyes me I swear I'm going off,
are you ready?
I know you win, of course
because I am never ready.
Not when the black Hebrew
Israelites in their plastic Knight
costumes bang drums as we walk
the concrete gauntlet.
Not when the women lower
their gaze and spit with their
eyes on my shoes.
Not when the crazies on the subway mutter
or the white woman tells us how beautiful
we are like a quick, sweet bandaid.
I know, we are tired.
I turn my whiskey cheek
to the pillow and breathe
in sweet silence, your arm
hooked around my waist
like any normal night &
we tumble off into space,
where every body is a either
a comet or a black hole.
Coming home at night as if we have a right to some private, sacred
we keep like a secret.
Coming home and trying rip through an entire history
with only our teeth.
Synonyms for White
Sugar Teeth / Salt Lick Horse Tongue / Dim Bulb
in the corner window of a building forgotten
& falling toward sea / Caps of Froth burning waves.
Gunpowder Emptied / Cloudy Water & the Last River
Stone bleached clean by sun, unturn me, paint Clean Coat
Light Refraction / Pulpy Paper / Cotton Sky / Snowglobe
Snowstorm drowning the city we spit on / love in / hide from
Rubber Sole Daisy / Eggs with yellow centers soft as nipples.
Polar Ice Caps & the skinned fur of carnivorous arctic bears
Tusks of a bulbous mammal / Rabbit Foot / Swan Feather
Whale Belly / Sticky Glue, come get caught here, cum dirty
up the bed sheets / Q-Tip for cute, say I match the bathtub,
could lie down and blend in with the floor tiles.
pale / pallid / wan / ashen / bloodless / waxen
chalky / pasty / washed out / drained / drawn
& I won't call you anything
but your chosen name.
Caits Meissner is an award-winning poet, educator and vibrant creative force dedicated to transformation and healing through storytelling. Published in various journals and anthologies, her poetry/music album, the wolf & me, was released in 2010 and The Letter All Your Friends Have Written You, Caits’ collaborative poetry chapbook with poet Tishon, arrived in 2012 on the Well&Often imprint. Caits’ poetry of witness has been awarded first place prizes from the Pan-African Literary Forum and the Ja’Nai Foundation and she serves as Co-Founder of The Wide Shore global women’s poetry magazine. She teaches an online course, "Digging Deep, Facing Self," designed to uplift, heal and transform women into their boldest selves. Visit Caits at caitsmeissner.com