William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

The Blacker the Berry

This bright frosty morning,
the world smells like
a million lonely breakfasts.

“November Postcard”
Songs and Letters, November 15, 2008


The Blacker the Berry

You’re too dark. You’re too light. You’re the wrong shade of brown. So it goes, from Boise to Los Angeles, from Los Angeles to Harlem, in the sad story of the very black Emma Lou Morgan, as plainly, painfully, and artfully told by Wallace Thurman. Like his own short life, his novel is a sprint, not a marathon. But its lessons still hold. Color prejudice from within. Color prejudice from without. Pride. Loathing. How we see others. How others see us. How we see ourselves. It’s all very complicated, yet simple, too — until you try to fathom why and how it came to be so. It’s like jumping in at the deep end and then remembering you don’t know how to swim. The Blacker the Berry, the sweeter the juice. As long as you play, there’s no way to win.

November 6, 2020


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Categories: New Poems & Pieces, Songs and Letters

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