The sun sets over a chicken coop,
and chickenheads come home to roost.
A bitch does not raise
five children, knead them like yeast
for thirty-one years on the
second story of the Jordan Downs Projects
in Los Angeles, California.
Dead smacked summer peelins
their pretzel-colored skin off at the
local County pool.
She does not listen or baby wipe
their assess for fifteen months
of drop sustaining worms into their nest.
I learned to pop an arm
in solidarity with my boys,
ghost-riding the whip to
‘bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks’.
I didn’t believe they were
anything further than garden tools
plowing my self esteem
validating my manhood.
If a bitch is a ho,
tell me then
what is a dick?
The tool I introduce to society that
of my Black maleness
dusted off of the American fireplace mantle.
Is my dick then a shovel
to dig up the graves of our patriarchal
founding fathers who raped substance
out of my Black slave great-grandmother?
In high school, Bitch became my favorite word
a la Too Short,
teaching us to master the language of the streets.
I was given formal education on the letters to emphasize
when ‘Blow The Whistle’ came on in the club.
And when Queen Latifah combatted
said favorite word with a slight busting of eyelids,
why did I sit in the back of the bus
referring to her as an angry lesbian bitch
who needs a man?
Did I too forget the accompanying
‘dyke’ or ‘fag’ attached to her
Million-dollar image or Oscar-worthy screen shots?
And when I fell aware that categories existed to
delineate Simple Bitches from the ones that
push County Building food stamp lines,
I was educated on the modern Bitch history.
That older women were exempt because they
bore children and raised their grandbabies.
That they’d dug their heels in the streets of
Birmingham to prove they deserved the title ‘woman’.
That they sat on the front pew,
First Lady-sharp with mirrors, pink ribbons, and shit
on their Sunday morning communion hats.
They’d prayed their inner-Bitch away.
That their granddaughters reaching for puberty
did not deserve anything less that the delineation ‘bitch’,
because their shorts rose up their thighs—
sun high in summertime.
That they indulges their generational dances and
twerked at Christmas parties.
And if Bitch is not a hereditary gene,
then how does one grow from a Freedom Fighter?
Did Nina Simone or Betty Shabazz
raise their own bitches?
Did Michelle Obama skip genes in childbirth
and pass her own two bitches through by way of
Sasha and Malia?
And who decides that Beyonce is a ‘Bad Bitch’
and that Karrine Steffance is a ‘stupid ass ho Bitch’
for documenting her path toward self-actualization?
And if a bitch isn’t always a bitch,
then what age do we relinquish their nooses—
set them free from Bitch bondage?
Do we give Hip Hop’s finest the emancipation keys
to keep watch over our Bitch flock by night?
And if my eighteen year old niece begs the question,
“am I a bitch?”
how then do I tell her she is not, she is not,
when affirmations of Bitchdom saturate her gumbo rue?
When she tastes the bitterness of violent-American-male-patriarchy?
How do I explain that it’s something she must grow out of—
that she must grow out of her Bitch shoes.
That her mother once had her aluminum slap-labeled ‘Angry Bitch’
and her cans went on sale often.
And what if one day she comes in tears saying—
“I’m not a bitch,
I’m not a bitch!”
do I then tell her to study the history of Black women on Dr. Dre records,
or shall I play fifty songs with fifty types of terminologies on Bitch theory,
analyzing fifty theories on what makes a Bitch bleed?
Or shall I direct her to that scene in Poetic Justice
when Lucky drove Hwy 1 with Janet Jackson’s character,
and how he referred her poetics interchangeably with a
fat over-aggressive feminist Bitch.
And if feminists are bitches,
Do they deserve guns along with those rakes and hoes?
That their womanity is harvested uninterrupted by the tidal-waval
diminishment they often endure.
And what if they were better than us?
What if their words were the blueprints to artistic and social freedom?
And what if a man called himself a feminist Bitch—
would he be shot at a Las Vegas intersection,
or become the subject of a diss track,
or would he just be the son, brother, lover, father, or uncle
of a Bitch?
I am not a bitch.
I’m not a bitch.
I am not Bitch.