By Lady No Luck
Have you ever felt that love between a woman of color and a white man is like an unreachable blinking planet on a clear summer night? Isn’t that quite a unique metaphor? I mean, who’s thought of love as a planet before? Not anyone I’ve heard of. And has anyone really thought of love as blinking? Or winking? Or jlinking, says Dr. Seuss? Kinko’s is a great place to think of metaphors at 2:30 in the morning, while you’re photocopying pictures about the Jim Crow South. How ‘bout this metaphor. Yo mama’s so fat, she uses the rings of Saturn as a hula hoop. Just to continue the planetary theme. You might not have thought of yo mama jokes as metaphors, huh? Try on another metaphor. School is like taking a dump, ‘cause it’s a struggle.
Have you ever been called affectionate names by a white man? You know, when you’re over at his studio apartment, and as a conscious woman of color, you’re thinking, maybe this could be the night. Maybe I could really do this shit and not feel weird about it. Maybe my friends and family will accept him, or maybe I’ll love him enough not to care. Maybe the fact that he’s in the army won’t really matter.
I mean, he tells you the stories of American army tanks rolling into Iraqi cities. He tells you this over coffee at 3:00 AM at Jamie’s Deli the night before, right after he yells grenade!, and tears a sugar packet in half and throws it in your lap. He tells you that the soldiers who get assigned to tanks are often young kids right out of high school. When the tanks roll out, Iraqi children often run out right in front. Waving hello! The soldiers driving the tanks grind them to a halt. Then the Iraqi fighters start shooting. He makes piles out of the sugar with his fingers. Then he tells you that military officials higher up soon give the order that soldiers are not to stop their tanks for children. He pulls his eyes down, and they soften. How do you think young kid soldiers can cope with that, he says? Your mind wants to become the shoulder upon which he cries, but you fight it, because you don’t want that yet, because you think that he just wants you to feel sorry enough to have sex. So you turn your mind into…a didgeridoo. Buhooowooooooo.Buhoowooooooo.
You remember this as you pull the popcorn shrimp out of his fridge, and you think that he’s sensitive and critical. Maybe he has certain understandings about his whiteness, you say to yourself. So you place the popcorn shrimp on a baking tray, and you tell him that you’ll put them in the oven, because you know that he probably hasn’t eat all day. You say these things aloud. In about 15 minutes, the timer goes off for the shrimp, and he goes over to the oven to pull them out. He places the shrimp on a plate and puts it in front of you. You’re reading Anne Frank at the dining table. He goes to lay down on the bed in his tiny studio apartment.
Then, he calls you out from his corner of the room, why don’t you be my slave tonight? You look up from your book. Why don’t you feed me my shrimp?, he continues. Fuck you, you say. Then he says, why don’t you be the good concubine that you were raised to be. Come over here and be my concubine and feed me my shrimp. (Later, your mom tells you later that you should have slammed your hands down on the table and said, I wasn’t raised to be a concubine. I was raised to be a bitch!) You start eating the shrimp on the table at a rapid speed. He notices and realizes that he won’t get any shrimp unless he gets up and feeds himself. Did conquerors ever have to deal with this dilemma, the problem of feeding themselves? Did colonizers actually have to lift their hand from their plate and place morsels of food in their mouths? I wonder. Anyway, so you’re eating the shrimp, and he’s eating the shrimp. The shrimps are just flying off the plate at the speed of light! He pauses to put more mustard onto the plate, and you down three shrimps just like that. Both of your cheeks are bulging, and it comes down to the last shrimp. You’re shooting shrimp flesh and batter from your mouth as you say, you can have it. And without a word, he picks up the shrimp and swallows it, just like that.