Sunday, April 5, 2020

Identity Politics by Tayi Tibble

Identity Politics

I buy a Mana Party T-shirt from AliExpress.
$9.99 free shipping via standard post.
Estimated arrival 14–31 working days.
Tracking unavailable via DSL. Asian size XXL.
I wear it as a dress with thigh-high vinyl boots
and fishnets. I post a picture to Instagram.
Am I navigating correctly? Tell me,
which stars were my ancestors looking at?
And which ones burnt the black of searching irises
and reflected something genuine back? I look to
Rihanna and Kim Kardashian shimmering in
Swarovski crystals. Make my eyes glow with seeing.
I am inhaling, long white clouds and I see
rivers of milk running toward orange oceans of
sunlit honey. Tell me, am I navigating correctly?
I want to spend my money on something bougie,
like custom-made pounamu hoop earrings. I want to
make them myself but my line doesn’t trace back
to the beauties in the south making amulets
with elegant fingers. I go back into blackness,
I go back and fill in the gaps, searching through archives
of advertisements: Welcome to the Wonderland
of the South Pacific. Tiki bars, traffic-light cocktails &
paper umbrellas. Tell me, am I navigating correctly?
Steering through the storm drunk & wet-faced
waking up to the taste of hangover, a dry mouth, a strange bed,
shirt above my head is the flag fluttering over everything.
What were we celebrating? The 6th of February is the anniversary
of the greatest failed marriage this nation has ever seen.
In America, couples have divorce parties. We always arrive
fashionably late. Tell me, am I navigating correctly? The sea
our ancestors traversed stretches out farther than the stars.

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