learning how to be black in a midwest nightclub

it doesnt occur to you
that youre the only one
smelling like hot combs
& blue magic
or that your hair took
longer than everyone elses

when its 10 pm
you & your girlfriends
spill onto the street
heels stabbing puddles
with dollars & phones
& id cards stuffed in your chests

your dress
is the highest & lowest
cut straight down
your cleavage grinning & open
so you smile with both mouths
at a blonde shooting
whiskey with his greek letters

he turns around
& you wonder
which mouth he will like better

under the green light
the club goer looks
at your head
instead of your mouths

youve been sweating
for an hour fetty & biggie
have beat black beats
against your scalp
undoing your latest attempt
to bleach yourself
to blend like silence
like white noise

combs your ear drums
& youre not sure
if hes asked for a taste
or escape

in the lull of a bass riff
you hear him ask
if you want
to introduce him
to your friend
yanking her beige ponytail
into a bun

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