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Book Review for They Wouldn't Let Me Be White:

Subterranean Blue Poetry

Volume III Issue X





PERCENTAGE POEM

by Michael Ellis


ACCORDING TO
STATISTICS
AND UNITED PRESS

YOU AS A BLACK FEMALE
HAVE A TEN PERCENT CHANCE
OF GOING TO COLLEGE
A FIFTY PERCENT CHANCE
OF DYING FROM STRESS

THEY GIVE YOU
AN EIGHTY PERCENT CHANCE
OF HAVING THREE CHILDREN
BEFORE TWENTY-ONE

THEY EVEN TOSSED IN
A SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT CHANCE
OF BEING A SINGLE PARENT
TO YOUR DAUGHTERS AND SONS

CNN AND FOX OFFER YOU
A FORTY-FOUR PERCENT CHANCE
OF BEING A WHORE

SO IF YOU EVER SEE
STATISTICS LIKE THESE
JUST TEAR THEM UP
SPIT ON THEM
AND IGNORE

I YOUR FATHER GIVE YOU
A ONE HUNDRED
PERCENT CHANCE
OF BEING BLACK AND BEAUTIFUL
AND AN EIGHTY
PERCENT CHANCE
OF BEING BLESSED

SO LISTEN TO DADDY
AND IGNORE THE PRESS
AND THE REST.




EGREGIOUS

by Michael Ellis


What do you do
When Black folks don’t want you?
And White folks don’t need you?

Tell me what do you do
When Black folks don’t want you?
And White folks don’t need you?

Can’t find no bread or a hand to feed you

When your own Racelessness
Becomes heavy and egregious?

You go to the church at the corner
And start readin’ poems to Jesus




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