Touched By Boys Loved By Men
A Collection of Poems by LaShanda Henry

My Taste I

Slowly he eased into the question
Are you bitter he asked?
Quickly disgusted by the one I trusted I thought, bitter?
Bitter, bitta
Think you think I think I'm a bit betta
Than everyone else now that everyone else has become my enemy
Villain she who overcomes all odds and forgets the act of forgetting
Never letting one piece of her pain go
Pity though she be - I be the victim
I be a bitter one at that

Are you bitter he asked?
Bitter betta feeling a bit under the weather
Black man you better taste me.
Taste your concoction

The one you auctioned off to the highest bidder when
Pussy juice and love songs weren't enough
The one you beat to make yourself feel better
When times got rough
The one you left to die at her own hand
Because living without you just wasn't enough

Without you
The Devil's brew the black man's stew
Overflowing with black breasts and thighs
Black lips and eyes and bitter hearts
A feast fit for gods above all odds you'll always have your
Main ingredient
Her bitter heart, her bitter heart, her bo-boop bo-boop

Bitter bitta betta
Nigga you betta not ask me 'bout my taste
Who you think made me taste this way

My Taste II

Slowly I eased my way
Squeezed my way out of that bitta skin that wasn’t mine to begin with
Quickly I wiggled and giggled as sugar cubes po-po-popped out my pores
As I fell to my brotha’s feet
Eat them I cried as he tried to comprehend the magic in me
While the madness in me gave me an air of con-fi-dance and
Ooh did I dance to that po-po-popping sound
The notes formed a triumphant crown atop my head

To my brotha I sang said
Sweeta, sweeta and sweeta still
I climbed the black man’s hill and he pushed me off with his pinky toe
Oh no
I was falling, falling, I fell
Into my minds hell, made a well of tears and a bed of fears and lies and cries but

Still I rise, Maya, Still I rise, I rose, I was arisen from my bitta prison and
A prism of angels lifted me to the ground where I found my brotha standing
Silently demanding to know
How momma withstood poppa’s blow
How Chickenheads seem clueless but somehow they know
Your “I Love you” prose comes and goes as quick as
Your mantra “Fuck these bitches and ugly ass hoes”

My brotha shows know sign of affection as I infect him with my floetic gift
My sugary sweetness, the essence of my soul’s completeness at the days end
When a sista’s heart can mend with girlfriends, Gods’ hands, and angelic laughter

From now ‘til the hereafter a sista can always find rhythm in the blues
We refuse to refuse the magic of the madness of the music in us

With this thought, I just bust through this bitta skin of rejection
Fuck affection
I turn unrequited gratitude into sought after attitude
I swallow muffled screams and smile sunbeams ‘til
This once bitta black berry is …

Sweeta, sweeta and sweeta still
I will climb the black man’s hill
I will, I will.


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