BITCH

 

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

Samson-esque acknowledgement

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.

© 2019 by J.B. Golden Group, LLC.

James B. Golden

Salinas Poet Laureate