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Naomi Extra

Years: 2012


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 WireDay OneBitch, Racialicious, Apogee JournalThe 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,




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.




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.