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Aaron Samuels

Years: 2013



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