Rae Paris Can't Breathe


Strangled*: Letter to a Young Black Poet
       for D. A.

A zombie is a technological soldier

ingrained in race

trying the spirits of beautiful folks like you.

A zombie moves in the same moment wrong

together with other zombies sluggish,

the apex of not feeling.

This is all to say: you are not a zombie.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

You are not a zombie.

You are tired.

What you feel is valid.

Speak this insane ass country.

Slap the shit out of privileged spaces.

Study the hiatus of hermits.

Be a moving arbor, thankful.

Meet the words of loving others.

Understand respect is not love.

Work through talking rage.

Weep blocks of wood.


This is all to say #blackpoets love you.

#blackpoestspeakout to and for you.

This is all to say I myself love you.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

I love myself loving you.




*All words taken from D.A.’s Facebook post about the energy it takes to exist in
predominantly White spaces, posted November 28, 2014.


Rae Paris is from Carson, California. Her writing appears in The Common, Guernica, Dismantle, Solstice, and other journals. Her work has been supported by the NEA, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, VONA, Hambidge, Atlantic Center for the Arts and Hedgebrook. She lives and writes mostly in East Lansing, Michigan where she's Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Michigan State University.



You are here