As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Sequoyah Moore – Poetry

black history month ain’t shit


since black me was tall enough to smother black chalkboards with white chalk
i’ve been
fooled by fickle fallacies about black folks’ history.

see, year after year i have
gagged on the anaphoras of martin luther king’s “let freedom ring”
choked back the brimming bile of carver’s research on them

how dare you
condense my history to outspoken black men and a woman who sat down.

see, that shit don’t fly
not with me
cuz my mama’s womb held more truth then what these textbooks could ever teach me.
littered with shotgun shells and loose nooses,
 that womb sang slave spirituals and gospel songs,
  painted my skin black so i wouldn’t burn in the sun,
   made these lips fat so you knew when i was sayin’ sum’n.

i don’t have the luxury
to hear the record only play the white-washed tracks of rosa, thurgood, and martin
while it sk-sk-skips
the blacks who refused to lay on their backs
 refused to conform to a system that wanted us to ask for our shackles back
  refused to ignore the bullet holes they were
i do not have the luxury to settle for one month of that.

cuz i can
floss my teeth with the string of mentions the
queer, feminist, multiracial blacks get
cover my knees with the river of spit
teachers have wasted on bullshit
about the “hundreds” of years since slavery
and carver
with them god/damn/peanuts.
black history month ain’t shit
and i ain’t afraid to say it
cuz every day that we’re alive is black history in the making
and every moment we survive is a black future that’s been saved and
my heart weeps cuz i know
that this system will never stop force-feeding me crackers
even when i ask for more soul
and will
never stop pretending like its boot ain’t on my throat
or at my door
 or up my ass
  or waiting on me to shuck-and-jive to some white person’s demands.

since black me was tall enough to bury black chalkboards in white chalk
i’ve been
into thinking this month was something other than white supremacy
playing barbies with black bodies.
i ain’t say’n
i’m morgan freeman cuz i know my people’s history must be heard;
but when that month of history’s bleached
all those who drink it
get burned.


brown-skinn’d orphan


skin running rampant with the qualities of a foreign mother
i am a cultural orphan
and i am reminded
every day.

“african-american” is what they call me,
but the only tie i have with my mother
is the hyphenated bridge to her home;
a bridge so neglected, even history averts its eyes.

skin stained sepia-brown,
the only “black” parts of me
are the dark holes in my past,
hungry for a mother’s love to fill them.
skin stained sepia-brown,
i ignore racial checkboxes
and i pencil in “historical mystery”
because my culture is a question mark.

skin rejected as too dark for the white world’s consumption
and skin regarded as too light for the black world’s consumption,
i know that my mother would think it was just right.

i am a brown-skinn’d orphan,
a foundling searching tirelessly
for the soil that these hips and lips have memories of.

searching tirelessly
for the warmth
of a woman i may never meet.

searching tirelessly
for a motherland
to call home.


Sequoyah Moore

Sequoyah Moore is 21, a Black rose rock from the sticky clay of Oklahoma and is currently a senior at the University of Missouri – Columbia where she studies Strategic Communications with an emphasis in Art Direction. Sequoyah discovered the sharpness of her pen at a young age but it was much later when she found her voice amidst the poetic laughs and cries of her ancestors. Performing in her first slam poetry competition at the age of 20, she has only just begun to wrap her roots around stages.

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