Patrick Washington


OCTOBER 31 2005

This Halloween
I betcha
White power punks are shaking in
Steel-toed disbelief
Flipping through mutilated bibles for reassurance
So scared their neck hairs stood up like Nazis
I betcha
Terrifying tales are jumping across
Camp fires
Burning crosses
The charred remains of segregation
Their mouths agape with
Ash covered faces now who’s the jiggaboo?
Hearts banging on ribs as they relive
That terrible, terrible day
A black woman
said no

Walls tumble and
Panic-stricken they screamed
Take that crown off on this bus!
Hold your head down!
My children are watching but
Instead all they got was the
Great grandma to the almighty
Don’t give me no bullshit ‘cuz this is NOT the day
Talk to the hand eyeroll

This is the story that makes
Grown men under sheets
The real Hood Rats
Squeal like bitches
Leave little yellow spots
Huddle together in darkness

Mortified knowing that
Somewhere Strom Thurmond stood up
And walked to the back
Cuz that’s HER seat
Tom Metzger cringes at all the honor that
His passing will never get

And Somewhere
This Halloween
I betcha
Horrified little racist boys
realize the terrible reality
Has transcended into legend forevermore
Like a ravens nevermore
And now a strong defiant black woman
Sits silently in the front
of their dreams



Yeah I know my head is big
It takes a full two seconds for smiles to
Get across my face
That’s enough time to wonder
Is it gas?
Is he in pain?
OH, he’s happy!

I’ve got a dome
that screams for tape measure
That hats can’t accommodate
That begs for comedy
Teachers love me
for my circumference
& sheer volume
Stetsons avoid me
For much the same reason &
Mr. Potato heads pop out their eyes
to avert their gaze
In shame when I walk in the room

I once loved a woman with a head like mine
She should be thankful we never had children
Her episiotomy would’ve looked like a C section
See, this head’s got girth
Wattage be damned
Cabinet speakers are muted when (………) blocks them
My head is a black hole of sound
I give great head
Because I give LOTS of it

Head bands scream in agony at the
Easter island proportions
You would want to be stranded on an island with me
Because pilots can always see a balloon of hair
from a mile up

Damn right I’m smart
See, I’ve thought it out—
Sat up front ‘nuff times to know
my ass should be in the back
Got broke down ‘nuff times in public
to learn how to make fun of yourself
before they can

So now I look at my poor son
and the massive trait he’s inherited
Hopeful that he’ll at least get his mother's locks
Knowing that one day I’ll have to wipe his tears & tell him

“Son, I know it’s a burden
but I’m sure we’re supposed to have this shit
‘cuz we’re the only ones
with the shoulders
To carry it”




I have decided to rename my dick
Mr. Fantastic
not due to any particular powers
freak radioactive mishaps
Nor the ability to stretch to incredible lengths
But because just like the comic book hero I have
Tufts of grey hair growing on either side of my
Down there
Like sideburns
Or a beard
Apparently I have a wise cock
(Although certain women may testify otherwise)
This has been cultivating for years now
aside from the maverick silver strand on my mane
I’ve been basically grey hair free
Except for the undercarriage
The steam shovel
The lance
The “Washington Post”

Shit was cool in my 20’s
I had set up lines so chicks wouldn’t be suprised
“If ya really like ya bling girl I’ve got
Silva’ Balls…”
But now I’m in my 30’s ya’ll
& they’re just starting to look - MATURE
Some women never noticed
but others got downright dick-centric…
scrutinizing me while asking,
“what color are the male pubic hairs on your father's side?”
but I never minded interrogation if it
Included torture
The last one talented enough to
Go down GOOD was 28 - going on eighty
Went down looking like the bearded lady

I laugh at the box of dyes in my closet
betting Ms. Garnier never thought she’d be
THIS close to my taint
Till realizing I am no mistake
So I will not white-out what God has given me
Besides, maintenance is key ‘cuz
Tweezing aint happening
Waxing’s what’s done to cars and
Razors won’t touch these bags anymore so
All I can do is keep them trimmed
worthy of admiration
In hopes that the rest of me
Will catch up


Seeking to become an acolyte of the legendary DJ Renegade, Patrick Washington, aka Black Picasso, came to the weekly “It’s Your Mug” readings & instead discovered an artistic family, eventually earning a name as one of the country's premier performance poets. His early work with the Generation 2000 poetry collective led to recorded projects for BET/Emerge Magazine's “Strength of a Woman Tribute to Betty Shabazz.” His work has been published in Life through Black Eyes (Rom Publications), a collection of words and photography. A semi-regular on HBO’s Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry, he has opened for artists such as Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Talib Kweli, and Floetry, along with his lyrical partner naturalaw-dp as part of the hip-hop/poetry duo Poem-Cees.

...and he will always be “Rio” to Toni.


Published in Volume 10:2, Spring 2009.