AFRS 200

Imani Cezanne

Black women bear the sweetest fruit and still Dr. Head been mean since mean been mean, but us
Black folk don’t get to grow old without hardening into a callus, and every hand in my family is
Black as soil so I get it, but couldn’t nobody say she aint know the land and hell, I didn’t even know
Black Psychology was somethin to know, so there I was, first day of undergrad, with my first
Black teacher since my mama when Dr. Head tells us to always always always capitalize the B in
Black says be specific says ain’t a more proper noun says we never meant black like the color we meant
Black like loud like proud like hair of bronze skin of wool got the nerve to die and come back
Black like a church pew of first ladies on Resurrection Sunday, and they say black magic the devil’s doin but
Black magic spun the earth like an old record and I swear you can hear the stars hum when the sky’s
Black is just the right pitch and you can make some black beans stretch cross a family but a bowl of
Black beans will feed a famine til it overflows then send it home with a to-go plate, not black like a funeral
Black like a coffin dance atop your favorite auntie while a grieving trumpet hold your good shoes
Black like Sunday dinner like one Sunday at grandnanny’s house, Pot had called Kettle
Black and Kettle was like …you right! and chile they laughed a capital B ass laugh because they know
Black is everyone’s favorite metal to mine and they been diggin in our business since before Jet beauty’s been
Black but you could find a drill long as the Mississippi and you still ain’t gon get you no oil that’s
Black as niggas from any MLK Boulevard cuz we ain’t mean black like the color we meant
Black like the meanest woman.
Black like the sweetest fruit.

    Imani Cezanne is a Black writer, performer and tamale connoisseur living in Oakland, CA. In March she became the 2020 Woman of the World Poetry Slam Champion for the second time and in July of the same year she was named a finalist for the 2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. As a two time Pushcart Prize Nominee, Imani has work published in POETRY, Nimrod, Fugue and Palette, among others. Imani writes for Black people, Black readers and is committed to the liberation of all oppressed people.

    © Variant Literature Inc 2021