Two Poems by Aaron Samuels

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

1986 - Mark Wahlberg assaults a black school boy while screaming racial epithets

I imagine myself a black school boy
Marky’s creamy knuckles
caressing my upper neck,

his large thumbs
playing the instrument
of my throat.

It could have ended
with a wanton gaze —
a mild flirtation

across a vacant Boston street
but as in all love poems
there was a tension

neither of us could control:
some call it magnetism,
some rapture,

in Boston it tastes like a rock
gently gliding
through an eye socket,

a large-dicked Marky Mark
blowing kisses
the way Dorchester taught him

one stone at a time
through the Irish wind.



I made it up

I remember the exact moment a flock of pale faces
blew from the summer wind, & like a swift fog,

had surrounded Brian & me, the only black kids at nerd camp,
& they opened their hungry eyes, asked us can you rap?

& you are mixed & Brian is your nerd camp best friend
which means you don’t know him that well,

but he is black, & you are probably black,
& this means you know him well enough

to know that he definitely cannot rap, at all,
not Jay-Z, not Beastie, not the Cha Cha Slide

but just as all things black, & nerd, & desperate
revolve & cycle in the summer glow, I knew

that Brian knew that  I— born of Pokémon Cards,
& a Velcro wallet tied around my wrist — that I

definitely could not rap. But in this moment, this chasm
of black fraud, Brian looks the wolf pack in the eye & says:

of course, we stay rappin’
& there was my answer,

when the Blacker version of myself was conjured into the wind.
It is not that regular version of myself isn’t Black; he is

technically, genetically, but not the same Black
that can sit & proudly next to his fraudulent Black friend

& lie — like a Black boy in a room full of jackals
with the truth dangling in the breeze —

a dark animal holding on for dear life
to the singe of my burning friend.

Aaron Samuels Author Photo.jpg

Aaron Samuels, raised in Providence, Rhode Island by a Jewish mother and a Black father, is a Cave Canem Fellow and a nationally acclaimed performer. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, featured on TV One’s Verses & Flow, and has appeared in many journals including Tidal Basin Review and Muzzle Magazine.  His debut collection of poetry, Yarmulkes & Fitted Caps was released on Write Bloody Publishing in fall 2013.