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Candice Nembhard

black men write black verse
their black words lead to a black hearse
(because they’re) indebted by the truth hurts, or real words
many men face quick purse
salvaged on two-piece and green herbs
not finding the knowledge in the dirt
they recruit a new instrument to push
forth a serve
trigger warning when they shoot first
15-love as a sentence served and no
dialogue between a discourse and
interpreted words
Guilty assumed first
pressured by a gavel fist
made in slave terms
Thug replaces negro as a coded word
(but) a nigger’s still a nigger
when he invents words
a nigger’s still a nigger
when the words burn
in slick rap poem mixtape made up passwords
that rest upon uneasy chests
like yellow birds
mining mama’s blues
when the dust curls
speaking from beyond
in laymen’s terms,


‘X’ was published in 2016 as part of the UEA Undergraduate Creative Writing Anthology, Undertow.

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