Ode to Black-ish



There’s no logical reason why I’ve chosen

now as the right time to crush

on Tracee Ellis Ross. The earlier episode,

when she wore life into that romper

and everyone realized she had the shape

an onion would layer its tears for,

was a more appropriate time to swoon.

There’s something about Bow and her eyes;

telling a story, relenting to the story,

listening as the story becomes a sitcom

flaunting its blackness with banter, then bait-switching

to the industrial strength police brutality version.

She first voices respectability politics, then turns

it all around, gets it. Genius. Beautiful.


Not African American-ish, not I-need-


Not middle-class-and-turned-my-back-

ish. Black-ish. That super black ish.

Like talkin-reckless-in-the-barbershop ish,

or white-in-the-boardroom ish. Everyday

type ish. Clap-back-on-a-neighbor-

paranoid-loud-and-occasionally-wrong ish. Love-

all-people-but-especially-my-people ish.



white-people-do-that-ish-too ish.

Sometimes we laugh to keep from—good-

conversation-can-cure-just-about-anything ish.


That episode though—pretense of humor falling

to the side like store-bought potato salad 

at the cookout. Dre voiced every black

household’s thoughts as Obama walked down an

incredulously wide and open street. Bow spoke

an apologists tongue but found her way

in the end. I saw my kids

by seeing theirs. Remembered the intricate struggle

of explaining the world to the innocent.

My parent’s generation didn’t need to know

the whole story to know the story:

a re-run is a bad dream; nightmare /

verdict / non-indictment / vigil / hashtag / in every home

and yes / we watch this ish / syndicated.

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