by George Elliott Clarke

The problem is, I’m bombastic—
drastically bombastic,
due to the minstrelsy, buffoonery,
of being a yellowed, cartoon black,
a secondhand black,
a kind of discard, discounted black,
being really only tan or brown,
a souvenir of Miscegenation.

A signally colossal pygmy! A hunchbacked, Igbo Igor!
Talent worth less than a chigger-plagued pig—
Talent that’s only a figment
of my Pygmalion, gigolo vocab (itself not big)—

Alluding to my obligatory pigment,
my oil-crude, black-ass nib zigzags this white-sheet gig—
my squibs unniggardly, yet niggling—
see my mag-nagging Ego, jag and jig!

Always was I an ignoramus (like Cap’n Queeg)—meagre—
if eager to league as a worthy figure—the “Antigone
of Antigonish,” who ligatures together earthy swigs
of igneous-molten spittle, grammar-beleaguered!

I was less Zelig than Rigoletto: Unambiguous
roared the guffaws, as if lauding Follies Ziegfeld—
dervishes all whirligigs, in trigonal shindigs—
and applause—symphonic Edvard Grieg—contiguous.

What a stigma my Intrigue be! What ig’orant
and brazen Bigotry to vaunt “Negro rigs”
(these foul-spelled, triggering sprigs—
iffy schlock) to spiffy, bewigged, Prufrock-like prigs!