Aaron Samuels is a Cave Canem Fellow, a Pushcart-nominated poet, and a nationally acclaimed facilitator of critical identity discussions. Raised in Providence, Rhode Island, by a Jewish-American mother and an African-American father, Aaron discovered spoken word poetry at age 14 when his English teacher told him he was not allowed to break meter. After declining this advice, Aaron went on to become one of the premiere performance poets in the country, featuring on TV One’s Verses & Flow, HBO’s Brave New Voices, and TEDx Washington University. His work has appeared in multiple journals including the Tidal Basin Review, Apogee Journal, Used Furniture Review, and Muzzle Magazine. His next book Yarmulkes & Fitted Caps will be released on Write Bloody Publishing in fall 2013.
Broken Ghazal in the Voice of My Brother Jacob
Irrefutable fact / my brother is black jewish
Kink hair & a wide nose / that’s gotta be black, jewish
He said look in the mirror / naked / if it ain’t black—jewish
If we don’t do it to ourselves / first / then they do it to us
Said he loves countin’ stacks / is that black? / jewish?
Said we loves eating chicken cause we black-jewish!
Said, you gotta keep it real / listen to black music If you wanna keep your teeth / you ain’t allowed to act jewish And that’s jewish / Night of the broken glass jewish
They’ll beat your face in with a bat / until its black.
They raped your great grandma, and that’s a fact, jewish
Say a prayer for the secrets your family keeps, Kaddish
See Aaron, you run / but I learned to attack: jewish
In order to survive, you gotta be black, stupid
Let ‘em tattoo my arm, that’s how I act Jewish
That’s how I be black / but that’s not what you did
Got yourself a “good job,” where nobody’s black / jewish
Cut the slang off your tongue / it’s too black; jewish
And, you never came home / Aaron / where it’s black-jewish
And not coming home / is black