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Extra, Naomi

Extra, Naomi

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Naomi Extra is a freelance writer, poet, educator, and doctoral student in American Studies at Rutgers University-
Newark. Naomi taught high school and worked as an adjunct professor for eight years before turning to scholarly
work and creative writing full-time. Both her creative work and scholarship are centered on ways of imagining the
corporeal realities of black women and girls, specifically through the lens of sexual agency and pleasure. Naomi is
a contributing writer to the feminist publication Weird Sister. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in
The Feminist Wire, Day One, Bitch, Racialicious, Apogee Journal, The Paterson Literary Review, and elsewhere.

When the Protest is Lonely                                                             

(Madison, WI 2011)

 

 

Capitol.  For the I in consciousness, for when your feet

Are muddied into the ground.  This is what democracy

looks like?  Tell me.  Better, show me how to see Jesse

(Jackson).  Imagine.  How your legs hang from your

body as others hang from trees.  You are a black woman,

dreaded,  coiled in other people’s memories.  Imagine.

 

Chanting “Kill the bill!” because union rights

matter.  Imagine.  Singing “We Shall Overcome” crowded by

lightening switch faces.  Jesse! Jesse!  Everyone’s turned

on, throbbing in dissent.   More chanting.  More repetition.

Jesse’s voice pulsating, cracking, and wandering into

your coat sleeve.  If only you’d been alive in the 60s.

 

Wondering where collective imagination got jammed.

Telling the same stories, singing the same songs as if

the present wasn’t worthy.  Swaying to a fragmented

past.  A lonely present.  Memories that evoke screams.

No sympathy.  Montgomery.  Memphis.  Birmingham.

 

Stories that have been hung out to dry.  Asking did we

collective anything before they threatened to take it

away?  Shivering in a crowd, wondering if anyone can see

you.  Jesse is a mummy.  No one cares.  Signs that say

things like “If I wanted a drop-out as governor, I would

have voted for Kanye.”  Religion has gone to sleep.

 

When it’s time to battle, drums are pounded to summon

fighting spirits.  To keep time, to keep everyone together.

Whose ancestors are we calling, which gods?  Which spirits?

Fire fighters march and you cheer.  Their chests nod

Upward as you woop and clap and slap them high five.

 

Hailing civil servants while ghosts of silence whistle an

Octave higher.  Fight for your rights.  Fight for what’s right.

Burdened decibels charge through holes, spaces

where we don’t talk to each other but into greyness.

 


 

We Was Good

 

When Sandy hit I was sittin’ up in

my apartment comfortable

& shit cuz my moms went shoppin’

the day before. She took us all, like

me and my cousins and my whole family

in the Jeep. We went to the Costco and we

got food for like a month. We had so much food

we gave some away to people in our

building. For real. We didn’t lose

electricity or nothin.’ That shit hit the

rich people in Jersey and Manhattan.

That’s what they get. Nah,

in the projects we was good. We had

electricity. Everything.

My Uncle Frankie, he was stayin’

With us too so we

had a good time.

Imma be barber just like him,

paid.

I don’t need to write no cover letter. I wont

ever be asking nobody for a job.

Imma work

for myself. I aint neva gonna be

no one’s  assistant. That aint me.

Shoot,

I’m middle class.

 

 

Published in the Paterson Literary Review


 

My Favorite Things

 

Seeing how many rocks can fit

up my brother’s nose or what

happens if I swing a stray cat in circles.

If I shut the door of my bright

Lemon drop bedroom I can

hump the sheets wonderfully

before anyone notices I’m gone.

When company is desired,

I scream at the window of

the white girl from next door until

her mother comes out. We pee in a bush

together while discussing whose urine is

yellower. Her vagina looks like rice and I

Want to ask to see it again.

But I never do. If I’m feeling vindictive

I dig a hole and put my brother’s favorite

playing cards in it. I look for them a week

later while dad is looking for his car keys.

I yell about poop in the grocery store.

Big poop, stinky poop, who pooped,

Poopy head and how many poops.

If no one is paying attention I call 911 and hang up

(blame it on my brother).

Eat all the Freihofer’s cookies (blame that on

my brother too).

Color in my Snow White coloring book

And hit anyone who rips out the pages.

Eat peanut butter and Fluff with

the Italian girl  down the road

whose house is bigger

than my entire apartment building.

In the middle of the night I

watch Lifetime movies about women in prison

and don’t cover my eyes during the sexy parts.

On the way to school I sing

“Lets Talk About Sex” and get smacked. I tell little

White girls what to do because they

Are the only ones who will listen to me.

Before mom and dad get home from work

I feed the dog peanut butter

smothered in hot sauce.

I try on all of my mother’s brand new

Avon products and apply her red lipstick.

Before bed I eat the toothpaste

Instead of brushing my teeth with it.

I dream that I am Michael Jackson.

 

Published in Day One