“Black Urban Myth” & “Hairitage” by Candice Ralph

Candice Ralph is a young writer, teaching artist, and nanny. She’s influenced by her discussions with children and ecological experiences. Although American born, she intimately identifies with her Bermudian and West Indian origins. Candice holds an English BA from The University of Chicago and is pursuing a Creative Writing MFA.

Black Urban Myth

Our sisters’ and our brothers’
Grim Fairytales from the Hood.
Have we forgotten?
Or do we choose to just remember
the Happily Ever After
The End: “Yes We Can”
which came riding in on ballots
a black hope
for our princes and princesses
trapped in towers
high-rises in the sky.

We’ve been straining our eyes
for the promised old promises
spun now on new spinning wheels;
[mis]taking gentrification for gold
[dis]missing the wizard’s fine print
as it is neither visible on spindles
called Progress
nor the condos, castles, chipotles
called Change
But rather spelled
with the magic words:
Eviction Notice
licking its chops
somewhere in our peripheral vision.

So the endless slumber reigns on…

We prick ourselves ceaseless
Fiends of Feigning.

Our sisters buy glass slippers
on Cinderella salaries
brothers crowned Kings for moving rocks
pulling out their swords
they are knighted Players
Once upon countless times
a sister is called everything but Queen
by surround sound mirrors
so she sways down streets

poising Apple Bottom Jeans
that bite Earth Brown’s waist
and poison her pre-pubescence;
yearning now utopia
in just some[one]thing
she opens her chambers to that knight.

Lullabying babies to sleep
with the song of the siren
the howling roll call
rounding up bodies to bury
behind 40 year sentences
The nursery rhyme repeats.


On crowns of curls stretching
towards solar celestial deities
DNA strands
Up[rising] is natural.
On Earth akin in depth it peers
to nebulae, as it is in Heavens.

Our fibers similar in sequence
to sums famed Fibonacci.
But first solved by our Mothers:
matriarchal mathematicians of a sacred geometry
tracing perfect angles into our sepia-toned scalps,
salving cries with Shea and stories;
plaiting us thick legends and epics.

Out of fine-toothed combs
courses of an oral tradition.
Baby hairs olive oiled down,
dark beads sheen in the sun
like the Milky Way, brushstroked.

Ancestral follicles ever [r]evolving textures resilient,
Little Sister tells me she is no longer tender-headed.
Her fingers now move with a comfortable dexterity
(interwoven high)
memory ingrained by loving motion:
The way Mother tucked our roots under silk nightcaps
[an embrace which catalyzes our morning supernovas]
Ascending springs eternal.

Related: (VIDEO) You Can/Can’t Touch My Hair by R. Uribe

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