Paints of Paradise

06 May

This is a set of poems that I wrote in attempt to shed some light about what I thing about colorism, racism and other kinds of prejudice based on appearance.

**Cocoa Curtain**

I always feel a cold chill slide down my spine
every time I step outside my apartment door
or walk through the office corridor.

I’m well dressed
shirt perfectly pressed, matching tie, shinning leather shoes
mirrors screaming just how good I look.

my eyes collide with those of my neighbors and office colleagues
their stares piercing mercilessly through my self esteem
like a desert scorpion’s sting…
I begin to feel that cold sweat that cascades through a soldier’s armpit
when the commanding general ruthlessly scrutinizes his outfit.

unsure of what I have missed
maybe a crease on my sleeve or food crumbs swinging on the edges of my lips…
having done everything imaginable to fit in
something in their strange stare still makes me feel so incomplete.

I have attempted everything
worn Gucci suits, dropped the foreign accent
mastered my speech, English almost perfect
even chopped down the dreadlocks & Afro to a mere inch.

those chronic stares linger
taunting my every dream as if questioning even the validity of my sleep.
realizing the ‘error’ they see cannot be changed
the cocoa curtain covering my being cannot be stripped
the dark veil shielding my blood cannot be removed at will
the blackness of my melanin no soap can fully bleach.

to break free from this soul-chocking suffocation
python-like constriction of the complexion of my skin.

not for a change of this chocolate shade
for it is a unique ingredient in the recipe of our identity
but for a transformation of perception in the eyes and minds
of those who quickly quantify the value of a house by the
paint on its walls rather than the content of its indoors.

echoing the old Egyptian saying
of how little can be known about the Giza pyramid
by simply staring at it from the



Either you black or you white,
you dark or you light.
Either you wrong or you right,
you day or you night,
you ebony or you ivory.
Nothing in between,
just a delusional dialectic of human beings,
totally obsessed by pigmentation and color of skin.

That a name be associated with a shade,
leading to a job denied.
That a music be correlated to a race,
leading to a contract revoked.
That a hairstyle be linked to a lifestyle,
only for a marriage bond to turn to a
divorce clause.
That a government refuse to implement a law,
because a man’s complexion happens to
be wrong.

When are we going to realize,
that complexion is only skin deep?
That the most important thing in life,
is not the shade of a man’s skin,
but the precious Spirit he holds
deep within?

So be you black, white or otherwise,
of straight, curly or locked hair,
this you should know,
the shades of us are the shades to you,
for beauty is given to all,
equally and full,
through the unquantifiable,
human Spirit in me and in you.



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