The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Blues Triumphant” by Jonterri Gadson



You don’t know sin

until you’ve been the black girl

in the cab of a white boy’s Chevy

parked outside a Circle K

when his door shoves another white boy

by mistake and their puffed chests circle

while you watch through the window,

until the one you’re with is ready

to smash a push broom

over the other one’s head

. . . as soon as he’s finished his monologue: Dude, 

I’m just trying to buy some condoms

and get some ass. Once he’s pointed you out,

once you smile and wave just your fingers

as the rage drains from their faces

once they’ve shaken hands and you believe yourself

common ground, a peace maker—that cute,

without wondering what message

passed between their palms,

only then can you begin to know

how darkness deepened

beneath that slow-setting sun.

This selection comes from the book of poetry, “Blues Triumphant” by Jonterri Gadson, which is available to purchase here from YesYes Books.

Jonterri Gadson is the author of the chapbooks Interruptions (MIEL, 2014) and Pepper Girl (YesYes Books, 2012). She has received scholarships and fellowships from Cave Canem, Bread Loaf, University of Dayton and the University of Virginia where she received her MFA in Creative Writing. She is also a graduate of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. Her poetry has appeared in CallalooLos Angeles ReviewThe Collagist, and other journals. She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Creative Writing/English at Bloomfield, College in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter at @JaytotheTee.

librecht baker. Long Beach, CA native. Member of Dembrebrah West African Drum and Dance Ensemble. MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. VONA/Voices and Lambda Literary Writer Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellow. Poetry is forthcoming in Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices (Trans-Genre Press) and is included in CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape (MTv Books).

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