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Art by Elliott Udoh

VOX Teen Poetry: “Ku Klux Kleenex”

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They looked up words that mean “stupid” in African to insult me

They look at my hair products as if they are dirty

They call me names and whisper things about me

And I am so tired

No longer can I play my “bad b*tch” music

Caresha would know what to do

But here “JT” is Justin Timberlake

And he cannot help me

Here I am exotic

Guessing where my ancestors were stolen from

Asking where I got my hair

As if expecting the name of a store

Imitating my accent

Asking how to say their name in “African”

This is embedded in their routine

Here my spirit is heavy

Like a biscuit covered in molasses

I am trapped in this southern quicksand of sorts

My ancestors’ spirits surround me

I am surrounded by fields

Fields of corn
Fields of cotton
Fields of contempt

And when my French teacher jokingly asks me if I’d like to pick the corn outside of the window all I can do is laugh

I don’t think Harriet would be very proud

Their hair traps me

Like an innocent fly caught in a widow’s web

I cannot escape

So I cry and cry

Hoping that the roll of thunder will hear me

But it never does

So here I sit

In the middle of the buckle of the Bible Belt

Rescue me

Rescue me

R-

Achoo

Bless.

Your.

Heart.

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About Elliott Udoh

/VOX ATL Staff Writer

Elliott Udoh, 14, attends The Webb School. I am a driven individual with a passion for social justice who strives to change the world through a combination of compassion and c...

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