YOU NO GOOD, miss america!

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The title for this collection is taken from a snippet of dialogue from the 1975 film, Coonskin. I saw the film in 2008; since then, I’ve been thinking about what to do differently in my relationship with Miss America, and all things considered, I’m thinking of ending things. So this is my break-up letter to her. Proofread it for me quickly and see if I missed anything.

My kingdom for a day off

I was making art in 2008 for rent money and double hamburgers with a small Sprite from Mickey D’s. Then Oscar Grant was murdered, and all of a sudden, I couldn’t pay rent. I’m thinking of ending things. So I sat in my apartment until I sunk into the floor, and I slept there while my body built a new soul with a harder shell.

I was thinking of ending things.

I just don’t think its working out, this thing between me and you, America. I lose time when we talk.

It’s 2010, and I’m getting paid to fold boxes, little boxes made of ticky tacky. Little boxes on the hillside. Little boxes all the same. And I served doctors, lawyers, and business executives, and they were all made out of ticky tacky. And they all looked just the same. And every week, I watched this show about a well-meaning White lady who needed to build an international weed empire to survive the demands of suburbia.

Then Trayvon Martin was murdered. And his killer escaped justice because weed, skittles, and Arizona iced tea do strange things to people who don’t look like Nancy Botwin. So again, I sank within while my body folded boxes full of ticky tacky because company policy didn’t account for the time a person might need off to bury a brother they never met.

I was thinking of ending things.

And then Eric Garner was murdered. And Michael Brown was murdered. And John Crawford was murdered. And Tamir Rice was murdered. And Alton Sterling was murdered, and Philando Castile was murdered the day after. And I, still standing in the same windowless room opposite a Five Guys, folding boxes, was thinking about how I can’t stand you, America. I smell blood on your breath, and you laugh when I flinch at your raised fist.

Every workday, we sit shiva in between transactions that come wrapped with crude condolences less for me and more for you; I, working in retail have no mouth, but I must greet. So I grabbed a tape gun and then Walter Scott was murdered. I placed the teeth against the edge of the box and then Sandra Bland was murdered. I placed someone’s belongings inside the box and taped it shut and then Breonna Taylor was murdered. I handed a receipt to a White woman who after taking it left wordlessly, her eyes never breaking contact with her phone and then George Floyd was murdered.

Once on the pavement.

And a second time on Twitter.

But I’m home now, and I’m finally processing what I wanted to say…

The day after Trayvon Martin was murdered.

Own The Collection

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson

Walt Disney’s Pinocchio

Planet of the Apes


for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange


Rocky IV

Little Miss Flint

The Murder of Tamir Rice