A Poem for the Darth Vader in Black Boys

I wanted to be Raggedy Andy,
with alarmingly red, dry mop hair;
Tight-ass jeans and a plaid button-down.

I wanted to be a common white boy.
You know–the kind from West Virginia
that smells of wet Skoal and sweat,
neatly dressed with his shirt tucked
behind a Confederate flag belt buckle,
somehow still sexy.
White like fresh Wonder Bread–
bland and under interesting
faking success,
lost in the mix of Dad’s shadow,
of neglect, of cocaine,
(or even Fentanyl, because it’s easier to get.)

I wanted the powdered face and cheeks
like a Ballerina Rose,
offsetting cherub lips.
Mostly,
I wanted that red hair
more than I wanted to be White.

But they said, “No.”

I was the villain they forced me to become–
to stop unwarranted prepubescent faggotry,
like bedwetting and playing with white dolls,
Or pretending bath towels were long blonde hair.

They covered my face
with the black plastic mask,
demanding “This is what you will be tonight. . .”
It had an odd-looking slick dome on top,
descending down
like a nun on a playground slide,
escaping the priest
from seeing her stigmata or menses.


I could barely see through the small eye slits
and could barely breathe with the small
nose and mouth holes.
I was cloaked in the velvet night,
black as the coal around
Aunt Marie’s house,
black as my thick coarse hair,
black as they wanted me to become.
That was the night we walked there–
my last memory of that house near the coal mine.
Yet my first memory
of my brother–
the one that never existed,
yet searched for, far away,
on 21 planets only known to me
and my Dogon ancestors.
We should have been Jedi Knights.
We should have been Luke and Leia.
I should have been Leia.
But I was too damned damaged to be her that night
as the dark wind touched me,
corrected me,
in ways and in areas my mask could never shield
and I could never forget.

The stairs to Aunt Marie’s
were slick with soot.
And with mother’s hand in my hand,
We approached Aunt Marie’s door,
Mother said,
Say trick or treat.
Make sure you say trick or treat
when she opens the door

or she wont give you the candy. . .”

Reaching the top step, looking into the glass front door,
I immediately screamed.
I immediately panicked.
I saw a short black figure in the glass looking at me!–
When I moved, it moved!–
almost robbing me of consciousness
and my internal whiteness
and my hope.
When the door opened,
Aunt Marie
stood there, thin and dark like a perfect raisin,
confused and disappointed
with her hands on her hips,
watching me scream in terror,
trying to release myself of Mother’s hand
still holding mine with a firmer grip,
terrified of the image in the glass mocking me,
she asked “what’s his problem?”

Out of breath from screaming,
Out of breath from walking up those stairs
with that horrible mask, I wheezed:
“I’m. . . I’m Darth. . . I’m Darth Vader. Trick or treat.”

About Stephen Earley Jordan II

Author of "Beyond Bougie", "Cold, Black, and Hungry" and many other books. www.StephenEarleyJordan.com
This entry was posted in Inspiration, poetry, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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