Whitney was a star once.
Waltzed across our television skies,
a waning crescent.
So was Michael.
All stars die though.
Explode into air thin,
cascade into black hole.
Black stars form under pressure
& leave us tragically,
either by death or betrayal.
When there was no other beacon on our screens,
we looked up to Bill.
When we wanted to name a future for ourselves,
we looked through Raven’s eyes.
When we needed validation an institution could not give,
we called on Kanye.
Astronomers say the larger a star’s mass, the faster they burn their fuel,
the shorter their lifespan.
I say the more expansive the black star, the more mass of the explosion.
I say the greater the black star, the shorter we can expect them to shine.
Some weeks I only listen to Whitney.
Cradle her name, a prayer between my lips.
One dim dusk, her lover gifted her stardust.
Whitney danced, dosed, then drowned.
& we mourn her body celestial after all these years.
Joe Jackson tried to carve galaxies out of his children.
MJ got addicted to surgeoning his features for the masses.
His daddy beat him, say dance, say sing, say don’t glide.
Walk on the moon, boy.
Turn this Indiana basement into a universe.
You a star, boy.
Kanye West composed pieces we didn’t know our bodies needed.
We had all the flashing lights on ‘Ye but he’s still a black star made in America
so he don’t get to shine forever.
‘Ye from the South Side resurrected and named himself Yeezus.
Got so big, white folks thought he was the sun
Now Yeezus only praises white folks in red hats
and white girls with fake asses.
Scientists say when you look up at night, some of the stars you see are already dead.
Maybe this means by the time a Black person becomes a star, they are already burnt out.
Maybe this means it takes a supernova to create a superstar.
Maybe we’re all waiting to be on fire.
Black stars disintegrate for reaching up towards a pearly gaze.
Whiteness has always been both a goal and unattainable.
Has been the measure of our success and the weapon that bludgeons us.
The higher we get, the closer we get to fame or manhood or God.
The further we get from ground or dirt or us.
Black folks stay folding in on ourselves,
stay a star on the tip of someone’s rising.
I say look at the way supremacy told Raven she ain’t black.
Misogyny told Bill he could take what wasn’t his to claim.
Masculinity gave Marvin Gaye’s father a gun,
told him to shoot his son.
& ain’t a sun the biggest star?
Don’t the biggest stars have the shortest lives?
Make the largest explosions?
Have you seen
the energy burning out
turn to dust?
Did you know above you
there are a sea of stars
Death & Loss
Intersectionality & Culture
Science & Climate
the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession
an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference
a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences
a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem
a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered