On Neoliberalism or: Why My Black Ass Is Tired

Candace Williams

The only reason why I wake
up put on
a shirt put on
pants put on different
pants look in
the mirror buy myself
a coffee a sub
way swipe a diet
Coke™ & a pack of peanut butter M&Ms™
is because I can’t eat
drink ride or stand
sit or lay my body down
(in my bed in my girlfriend’s bed on a spring green
on a gynecologist’s table or anywhere else)
unless my boss likes my outfit my manners &
my manner of speech & my taper
fade & my electric blue Cole Haan’s™ & my light cardigan & my button
down & my Stanford™ degree & my spread
sheets & anything else I
bring to the office promptly
at 10 am & leave unsaid & locked
behind my apartment door when it slams at 8
:40 & I’ve already run down
half a flight of stairs & soon I’ll pass two white™
bros in the lobby who seem
angry to see
me they never open
their door for me they eye me through
the peephole & apologize through
the door before turning
their Ed Sheeran™ down
at midnight before turning
it back up again at 2 before I say
fuck it & drown
2 fingers of scotch at 3
& I’m steps behind the white™​
bros leaving the building
& the front door slams as I reach
it & a black man beyond
the door leers at me seems
angry at me it’s not
my fault I didn’t say hello
last week I didn’t recognize him
making his way through the dark I never recognize
myself or my silence like that one
time a white™ coworker made
a joke that I labored in
the office like I was picking
cotton​ in the field & my boss likes his labor™ more​
than he hates racists so here
we are riding the elevator to
gether in silence like
that one time I woke on a spring green with
a concussion & no memories & the police™
officer seemed angry
I made a sound