Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 1



Najee Fareed


Crossing

I close my eyes.
Heels kissing the curb,
cars fly back & forth
shifting the air around
me, shirt in the breeze
like I’m sailing. I take
one step.
Then two, three, & four.
Looking no way at all,
a parade of horns, creaky
brakes & booming backseat
stereos all cease when I open
my eyes on the other




If I Was The White Man’s Nigga

Sipping hennessy in a crystal wine glass,
reading up on Wesley’s Theory,
every nigga is star... shining.
Especially when we rap or play ball.
Nigga sneaker logos staining the
corner where my auntie got shot,
police falling through with rifles
ten minutes before the paramedics
that parked down the street, each second
hissing nigga into my ear. Deafening.

I’m not, but if I was your nigga,
I’d be on my way to pick up a
white bitch in my new white
Ford Bronco, grinning at your
redneck dad in the red cap sitting
in his pickup truck, no cap, I’d love
my country like I love my city.
I’d hate me, I’d hate my moma,
wouldn’t carry no pain, no anger,
I’d be endeared by your sloppy ebonics,
sporting a faithful watermelon smile.

Then I’d remember my auntie died.
And my hair too nappy, lips too big.
You hate six shades of brown.
I’m pissed, rocking a watermelon
scowl; anger, red as cherry Kool-aid,
bleeding out on the streets. I’m not
your nigga. Don’t say it.



Najee Fareed: "I am an emerging author, I have recently graduated from Columbus State University with my BA in Creative Writing. I am a southern poet from Atlanta, Georgia and I’ve been published in literary journals such as The Arden for my poetry, prose, and fiction. I won 1st Place at the 2019 Southern Literary Festival in the “One-Act Play” category and was published in the subsequent anthology. Along with that honor, I was an assistant editor for the publishing imprint, 2040 Books. I am also the first black student to read at the Bo Bartlett Center as part of the David Diamond Reading Recital. I am currently a high school English teacher in Atlanta."




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