The "Planned Parenthood" of Racism by Romella Kitchens

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

The man or the woman who says that the discussion of race
or racism makes them uncomfortable, typically has “contributed”
so much to the necessity for discussing racism at all their “efforts”
defy (intentionally) accurate attribution.

As girls they told us “colored children" we should not have any
or many children because then society would have to take care
of them … our failure failures in life seemingly already planned.
We were a burden to them instead of other Americans. A weighty
economic duty. They taught us this self-genocide more than, reading,
math, writing or hope.

Wilkinsburg in Pennsylvania, many years ago. My mother is alive
Takes us, her daughters shopping in the downtown district.
A White woman approaches and says:
“Your daughters look nice. Truly.”
“Why, thank you,” my mother smiles.
“But, I am from the South. And, see all those bows and barrettes you
have in their hair? We’d called them pickaninnies down there. Little

nigger pickaninnies. Aren’t the two of you pickaninnies?,” the
White woman said, reaching out for us children.
Our mother stepped in between, protecting us with her body
and told her, "You’re insane,”
rushed us away down the crowded street.

I buy new canvas and oil paints.
I begin to paint.
African American girls emerge on the canvas.
They are dressed in beautiful dresses with lovely socks
and shoes.
Their hair is caught up with ribbons, bows, flowers and
They are as poised bodily as their spirits.
“Bow girls,” I call them.
The beautiful, even under duress.

"The world dictates poems. We only write them down. "/
Roman girl. Little Romance. All those names on me./
Born to write a poem down from the crib/ Chapter&Verse,
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Coal Hill Review, Chiron, Mudfish,
even took a poem/ And there is always others ...
Autumn House threw down like brothers and "Van Gogh's Ear" ...
But, I feel the political 2 in a violent world, so a Sista from
Pittsburgh I am, writing about marigolds but consciousness
and conditions as well.

Sometimes the pen weeps onto the lokta leaf paper I hope little
brown people like me is gettin' paid to press out. Sometimes
the poem is joyously upright. / But, it is always about the global,
the exiled, the needy the necessity in this life .... The oppression tired.
They even set up a refugee camp in this bio/.