Coco Mocha Brown

Angelique Ambers


Glaring eyes burn my skin.
They do not want me here.
I'm the nigger.
Less smart.
Less beautiful.
Less marketable.
Simply Less.
But here I stand, ready.
Willing to transform the opinions of me.
I am a black woman.
Glaring eyes burn my skin.
Caramel complected,
Like a sweet mocha with whip cream.
Like the red x on number 9,
This skin a mark against me.
Glaring Eyes.
Despite the decades that have passed
since the end of slavery, Glaring eyes.
The Emancipation Proclamation decreed:
“all persons held as slaves within any states....
shall then be thenceforward and forever free.”
I am not free.
Glaring eyes burn my skin.
Encaged by my beautiful skin, a curse.
No matter how well I perform at school, work.
No matter how friendly, courageous
respectable, loyal, compassionate I am.
There is the constant reminder:
I am the nigger.


The salesclerk follows me around,
As if my fingers are sticky paste,
The merchandise tiny pictures,
My purse a canvas for a collage.
I purchase the most expensive shirt
to prove a point, but
I am still a nigger.
Classmates ask quizzically, “what grade did you get?”
Expecting, no relying, on my failure.
They will not get that satisfaction.
Me, one of the only two full black girls at work.
I work harder.
I have a point to prove. I do not get any props.
Sadly, I am just the nigger. Hired to fulfill a quota.
Glaring eyes,
Burn my skin.
The worst, the bogus black jokes.
Anger builds inside me as the words escape his lips,
“You need to lighten up, (giggles)
that was a black joke!”
I imagine my fist hitting the plump jokester's face
and laughing while blood pours from his nose.
Instead I just laugh, shrug it off.
Glaring eyes,
Will not let you forget this is their world.
You a tiny spec in it.
Glaring eyes burn my skin.


They think they know black culture.
Loud. Sexual. Violent. Aggressive. Ignorant.
Sitting in the classroom, filled with diversity.
The Asian boy in the corner,
The Latina in the middle,
The Caucasian in the back.
Minds all filled with stereotypes of blacks.
They smile, Phony asking:
“Why do black women want to be thick?”
“Why do blacks talk so loud?”
“What makes black women so angry?”
“Why do black men call women bitches and hoes?”
Then come the solutions:
“Maybe if they weren't so ghetto.”
“Maybe if they weren't so violent.”
“Maybe if they were trustworthy.”
Glaring eyes burn my skin.
I wonder how often they have been stereotyped
as violent thieves.
How the fuck do they know what it is to be black?
To be poor, victimized by
Brothers throwing up the wrong sign,
And Sistahs, tears pouring from their eyes
as another piece of clothing is torn from their bodies.
Seen as worthless.
A purple crayon in a box of red.
They all look towards me for answers.
I want to scream.
“Fuck if I know!”
Glaring eyes burn my skin.
Expecting me to be the poster child for blacks.
Give a general answer about a whole race.
My race.
We are a category.
Not Individuals.
A category.
Glaring eyes burn my skin.

I am a beautiful tragedy.
The same beauty of my skin: a curse.
Glaring eyes,
Burn my skin.
Who are you to judge me?
Money? I too have a job.
Intelligence? I too am educated.
Hard working? I too am not lazy.
Emotions? I too feel.


Color, does not make anyone inferior.
So, what continues to hold blacks back?
Blacks see each other as enemies.
Killing over money,
Over men or women,
Through drugs,
“Being a nigga means you love niggas,
and how could you love niggas, if you
trying to drug niggas?”
Black men dissing black women,
Gossiping girls stabbing each other
with harsh words:
“Bitch you fat?”
“Ew, look at her weave.”
“She a hoe.”
“Bitch you look a mess.”
Blacks hate each other for living on
The Wrong Side of Chicago,
And will beat the fuck out of an individual
for hanging on OUR block,
because our broke asses own the block.
Shootings occur, more black on black violence.
Blacks yearn for respect,
But refuse to respect each other.


Glaring eyes burn my skin,
I am alone.
I am alone.

Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240