Double Dare You: Compacted

both get picked.
nappy hair,
always a fork,
wood, plastic,
Always your fingers.

Negro slaves
bleached black from heat
burning like wool
in the hands of a shearer,
sweating in a barn.

wear a cotton skirt
or shirt
on a 110 degree day,
tell dead slaves
under the soil
your children play on,
how that feels.

Try picking
the Negro’s nappy hair,
then tell me
if it tastes like
Cotton Candy.

if you do
the non-black Negro
will start acting like a Nigger;
and the actual Negro,
will go off like a Nigga.

So I dare you.
I double dare you
to compare nappy hair
to cotton candy.

* * * * *
The original by Emmett Wheatfall

3 Responses to “Double Dare You: Compacted”

  1. trE says:

    I solute your bravery in writing this. So many shun from the following variations of Negro: Nigger & Nigga. I think using both made the poem more intense and sent out a powerful message. I’m funny about my hair; don’t want touching it and it damn sure doesn’t compare to cotton candy at all. Nice poem, great structure, solid subject.

  2. J. A. Cripe says:

    Wow. This is pretty fucking heavy. It feels like there’s a brick in my stomach. Is this yours? A rewrite? May I ask the inspiration?

  3. Valerie says:

    This is a rewrite of another poet’s work; the link is at the bottom of the post. I loved his central image and themes and wanted to see how I could tighten his poem while retaining the message. It’s a new feature I’m trying out. If you know anyone who wants their poem or story “compacted” then send them my way!

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