Edible, But Ugly

Winner of the Spring 2016 Amendment Poetry Contest

Edible, But Ugly
by Sylvia Jones

Respect is wit

unpredictable it lives

between public and private

which is why

our lives are as intense as they are sudden

we cross roads to be respected we exit too

we stand accused with the weight of an unshaped hunger

our doubts pregnant and outnumbered by a unilateral need to be politically correct

we inherited it, this debate room its linoleum floors its waxed opinions

we are eating dirt to avoid peer censure

we taxidermy ourselves to keep from having to consider the innuendos of small talk

an exact fear

a metallic taste

an anthem

a menagerie maybe

blackness demands too much from us

all I have left is a fatigue and a fear that my bad breath might ruin my friendships

how asinine

how eager we are to argue, to be consumed

to maximize our potential.

To become The Ballot or the Bullet*

*Malcolm X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet” is the title of a public speech by human rights activist Malcolm X which was delivered on April 3, 1964, at Cory Methodist Church in Cleveland, Ohio.

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