a small bite of intimacy
a poem about Blackness, masculinity, and healing to connect written in collaboration with Robert Monson
Today’s poem was written in collaboration with my friend-who-became-family, Robert Monson. As I was reading Alexis De Veaux’s chapter in the book Black Women Writers At Work I came across this reflection on the Black sexist debate. I kept on coming back to it. Eventually, I felt inspired to write a poem about intimacy and Black Male Sexuality from our two perspectives.
“The Black sexist debate is real. Black men can be very sexist. Their sexism arises out of the burden of being male and the whole myth of black male sexuality. Of course, there are always individuals who don’t fit the pattern. I have had the food fortune of having met some men who have taught me a great deal, who have been very sensitive men. And so I cannot make a blanket statement; all black men ain’t “shit.” But black women and this society, in collusion, have bred a very superficial macho man who is not really like that, but who projects that image for us and for himself. There is such a wide space between him and his image that it’s frightening for him; and whenever we begin to analyze it, it becomes even more frightening for him. Because if we’re talking about him, making him self-conscious and defensive, he has to do something: either he has to grow a harder shell or he has to break the shell down. Either way, it’s painful.”
- Alexis De Veaux, Black Women Writers at Work
I’m proud of the poem we wrote and I hope you enjoy it as well. Due to its alignment and formatting, the poem can only be presented as an image. As much as I want to tell you who wrote what side, I encourage you to read through the whole poem then read each individual column to see how our perspectives come together, come apart, and collide. Let the words, images, and perspectives hold you.
That was such a vivid, vivid journey to read through. DAMN.
So beautiful and thank you for sharing the piece that inspired it as well. Amazing