The Cult of Black Culture

we paid the price of admittance at the door
we always do
to waft in and dance like we always
Forget our bodies are factories and that we are
Weighed for profit
we sway to forget the world is a stage
that our moves are watched our moves are mapped
our essence extracted

we train our replacements without knowing
break bread and share our joy, nourishing them all
they crunch our bones between broken teeth
mix our blood with their wine and call it progress
and fill their cups of us
it feels like good will

it feels good
to dance here,
forgetting what came before and what must come after
our pages are short yet
our presence is tended long after we have been thrown away
we linger, hidden beneath their tongues
dipped into a river of denial


I lay in the muck of this life and wait for it to tease me into bloom
patient strolls long abandoned by compass
a paper trail of long faces lead me on to hallowed ground
a meadow of September nights hunched over my soil tinged skin
cryptic memories made weightless beneath pounds of regret
weaving silences measurable only in the length of prayers
we sleep like the dead and bathe like the guilty
keeping quiet
a table set in the present of my peers
a trial by fury
roped off versions of candid moments
untouched like coal, fueling our pasts
sentimental baptism
my rendition of joy
paper trails of late nights we didn’t plan to spend
paper plates filled with the bounties of our hustle
paper made
paper made us
give us torches
hand us heads

Dala Roades is a writer, student, musician, and relentless hobbyist out of San Francisco. Her work is brought to the world by uncertainty, curiosity, and tireless ploys to fully realize her voice. She can be further investigated at twitter and Instagram