#BlaPoWriMo: Odyssey of the Tragic Mulatto

Black comes
in many shades
but one—
Too white
I am—
Skin like
alabaster, hair
ruffles in the
breeze like
petals of
Curly in places,
frizzy in places—

Not enough to
stay my father
after three months,
not enough to
inherit the love
of his people—
Meek complexion
reminds them
of my mother,
and grandmother,
my great-grandmother,
how they perched
on pedestals, played
ignorant to their
husbands’ rompings
in the quarters,
abused the
bastard children
and sent them away.

My first love
loved me for my
resemblance to
the white women
he coveted, warned
me I’m no better
with his fists.
Black like him
underneath, with
every blow, he
brought my blackness
to the surface—
Blue bruises
the size of
blot my arms,
Purple boot prints
tread across my
chest and stomach,
red rashes spread
from the fingers
wrapped around my
neck, cutting off air,
black eyes, from every
punch, swell shut,
immersing me in darkness.

When I die, let the
priest open my casket—
Naked, let the world
see the discolored
calluses, a melanin
absorbed through cruelty.
Let no one ever say
I wasn’t black—
I was every black woman,
brutalized and discarded
just the same.

© Nortina Simmons


6 thoughts on “#BlaPoWriMo: Odyssey of the Tragic Mulatto

    1. Hey I just saw your message on Twitter. Sorry I’m so late. I’m not as into social media as I once was. First off, congratulations on striving to publish your poems! So what do you need from me as far as editorial assistance?


      1. I am also drifting back and forth on social media. My idea about publishing also drifts back and forth, honestly. At the time I wrote, I was thinking about having someone with a careful eye go through my stuff and pick out what is worthwhile. And a brief editorial note would be an added bonus. Of course, I’d pay you for your trouble. Have I left out anything? Oh yeah, there are hundreds and they range from the 70’s to the present. I am also thinking about taking a few and making/writing a series of fictional short stories. IS it something you have time for?


      2. Time won’t be an issue. While I do have a day job, and various other projects I work on, I can definitely make time for you. My only thing is I would need between 3 & 4 weeks, just so I can carefully go through each poem & shortlist the ones that work best for the published collection, and then of course to leave any editorial notes I may have. So if you need a quick turnaround (like within a week) I’m probably not the best person. As far as the series of short stories, if you do decide to take that route, please let me know. Editing fiction is definitely where my strength lies, and I would love to be a part of that project as well


      3. The cool thing about my life at this stage is that NOTHING needs to be hurried and there is never a need for a quick turnaround! Let me gather it all together and send to you. Maybe early next week. Thank you! Have a great weekend.

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