Two Poems by Morgan Parker

This week in the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America features two poems by Morgan Parker. 

Magical Negro #84: The Black Body

Give it a new verb.
Stop writing poetry.
Go outside. Make blood.
The body is a person.
The body is a person.
The body is a person.
The body is a person.
The body is a person.

Two White Girls in the African Braid Shop on Marcy and Fulton

Does it hurt. Why did you come here. What do you want. Are you filming this. Do you live in this neighborhood. Do you have a picture. Do you feel comfortable. Can I ask is that a weave. Why do you feel comfortable. Is the neighborhood treating you well. Do you read the news. Where’s your real hair. Do you like America. Are you filming this. How much. Dollars. Did you hear about the trial. Where are we going after this. I heard it was non-indictment. I have been listening. Nigerian soap operas. Praise Be to God. Did you just take a picture of me. How do you feel about America. Is it too late. Reminds me of TV plantations. You’ll get the shoes when I have enough money. Stop crying. Your mother loves you. Not too tight because I am tender. Not too big because I want it to last. Why did you come here. You know with everything that’s been going on these days. Do the radios stay on all night. Does anyone tell a baby who they are. Who they have to keep being. How did you sleep. Your soft kitchen. Dark nipples. This is when we say our prayers. Women fill with infants and butter. Who are you texting. Did we make reservations. What language. Bodies so black they syrup. Hair so black there are no windows. The smell of burnt rope. How long will it be. How long do you want it. I know you. I wish I were you. I want to drag my toes in something I finally own. Do you know it only gets worse from here. Cash only.

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