Poems by Erren Geraud Kelly

Buffalo Girl (Annie)

Knew a chic named Annie
Who wrote poetry
Later taught herself to play
Guitar and discovered she was
Pretty good at it
I met her in a coffeehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
One night, when I was reading
And looking to score some
Annie told me she left
Buffalo because living there
Was like slow death
And the factories made
Ya old
Before your time
Annie’s face was a map of
Her eyes like dark
You couldn’t stop looking at her
Her mother was 100 percent
Annie hated being pretty
And did things purposely
To make herself look plain
She didn’t want guys lookin’
At her
She said she wanted to be
More than just a pretty
Annie would dress down sometimes
Wouldn’t wear any make up
But her Sicilian face didn’t
Really need it
Annie used to joke
If I broke her heart, one of her uncles
Would break my legs
But she gave her love freely like the
Didn’t matter if it was a man or a woman
A lover was a lover to her
Once, Annie showed me her breasts
In a private spot
At the Brooklyn botanical gardens
They were the size of honeydew
I nearly fainted
She joked they were her best features
They were her calling card

Her songs were protest songs
Which was to be expected of
Folk songs
And it’s always weird
To see white people
Rage against the machine
When they are the machine
“But Italians aren’t really white,”
Annie said
Annie was always trying to get
Me to come to the Communist
Party meetings
I would always refuse
I’m not patriotic, but I’m not an extremist
I’m for nothing, I’m against nothing
I fight only for the things that matter
To me
But I think Annie was about sex
More than anything else
She believed those myths about brothas

Annie started out by selling cd’s on her website
She figured came out better
Than being on a major label
She had more control
And made more money

The way Annie and I
Broke up was absurd, comic maybe
Things had been tense between us
The last few weeks
We got into a fight at a Chinese resteraunt
And I accidentally knocked a
Glass of water over
She started screaming something
In Italian
And then stormed out

I never saw Annie again after

A friend told me Annie had
Looked up an ex boyfriend
And wanted to play rerun
I think Annie just wanted to do the “rock star“
And she didn’t want to deal
With a nobody
Or maybe I was just a rebound fling
Something to help her get her self esteem
I hear her albums from time to time
She’s come along way
From the coffeehouses in Brooklyn
But I’m always cautious
Of olive-eyed Sicilian women
Who give their
Love like the

Shoulder length and longer

If a woman’s hair
Could be a flag
Hers would be the
Freak flag jimi
Sung about so proudly
Her hair would be the
Star-spangled banner
On steroids
Her hair doesn’t scream
“fuck you” so much
As proclaims
“this is me, deal with it”
Like she stole a peacock’s attitude
And co-opted it
All those long brown locks
Are the united states of

Ebony Body

She chills to pac p biggie bone
Because black pride is a special thing
And aping one’s culture
Makes her feel less guilty about her
She is rail thin stocky pleasantly
Around the middle sometimes
Down home pail with freckles
Rarely Hollywood tan
Maybe new England alabaster
Just enough accents around the breasts and hip
To make a brother get his game
Get him thinking about getting in that wet
A mutation god never finished
She’s down (some say she’s dumb
Say it’s more hip to be square
But she’s a square peg
In a round-holed world
God never got around to finishing
Her properly
Ebony soul trapped in a white body

Fourth Of July

i don’t know
what the crowd
watched more
the fireworks:

or me

in my danger
educated blackman


“you’re not really exotic anymore,” she told me
“there’s nothing about you
that’s unique or marketable.
your only real talent is
you know how to work
a cliche.”

“angry black poets are a dime a dozen
these days and the ‘victim’ schtick
is getting old.”

but that was what i always wanted:

to be black on my own terms
not be a black man the way the whites
or blacks
wanted me to be
but be a black man in my own way
i’ll never be a prisoner
to anyone’s stereotype
or be confined to a fill-in-the-blank
on an application

so, if you’re offended
that i like “catcher in the rye”
more than “the autobiography of malcolm x,”
too damn bad

if you’re pissed off cos
bach, rachmaninoff and bob dylan
move me as much as miles, jay-z and al green
i have no apologies

i’m nobody’s black man but me