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“O for a Muse of fire,
that would ascend
The brightest heaven
of invention,
A kingdom for a
stage, princes to act
And monarchs to
behold the swelling
-Willam Shakespeare
King Henry V


She sits in front of the mirror;
Staring at the beast that she sees
Staring at her.
If only she knew her beauty.
Disgusted by her kinks,
She bends over the sink,
Trying to straighten things out.
As the chemicals began to burn her scalp,
She washes them out,
Washing away
the perfection that God created.
If only she knew her beauty.
With the ease with which the comb slid through her hair,
She almost let out a half smile,
As she tried to gel and style
Her self-esteem into shape.
If only she knew her beauty.
She looks at her skin with disgust,
Not seeing how tenderly she'd been kissed by the sun,
Not recognizing that her and God are one.
Her face would become her canvas,
As her dark foundation,
Was covered by foundation two shades too light.
Her skin, blacker in the beginning,
Which glistened like a laquer finish,
Now lacked its shine;
It was dull, with a kind of ashy brown tint.
She laid it on thick,
The same way that her eyes were laying it on thick,
Telling her that she now looked good.
If only she knew her beauty.
Now ready for the finishing touch,
She clutched her lipstick
Between index and thumb,
And let it run laps of rouge on her lips.
She wanted them thin,
And hated them for their thickness.
If only she knew her beauty.
She dressed and ran outside.
The clouds cried as they saw her.
She was a blur in their memory;
Nothing like they were used to seeing,
But she refused to let the clouds steal her light,
As she tried to dodge their tears.
It's a shame how something as natural as the rain,
Can become like Kryptonite to a Black woman.
If only she knew her beauty.
If only she knew how much midnight envies her
How many women envy the thickness of her lips,
How many men fantasize about a kiss,
How many times I've wished,
That she only knew, her beauty.

2006 Calgary International Spoken Word Society