Colorado Goddamn

(A Letter to Nina Simone)

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Flickr/Valerio Belloni

Dear Nina,
Two years in, milady, and all Boulder has taught me is that keeping up with the Joneses still keeps one oblivious to the Jenkinses, Garcias, Wangs, and Hadads.

Nina,
Claiming to be receptive and ready for waking, they dance gleefully to Hip-Hop in the bars but won’t crack a smile at me in the streets. They stare but won’t speak. I’m always always asked if I’m new.

Nina,
Some actually thought saying how much they like chicken and how they “appreciate Black not cracking” would be suitable while ringing up their booze. When that’s followed by stating the weed’s too dark so they don’t want it but “no offense” to me, the ire becomes an ulcer.

Nina,
A foul one really tried me, began by claiming mental malady then encouraged me to describe my intelligence as “nigger” once he declared his as “cracker.”  When I only referred to myself as Goddess, he pressed for permission to say it, kept repeating how it would be that way. I was firm with my “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t” without losing my sanity. He held his along with his tongue.

Nina,
The Flatirons shield the fakery, the sheltered privilege they just love getting done by—hard. Like the bronze men they secretly ride, the plump mahogany women they quietly dive into their dreams.

Nina,
Yes, the Little Girl is nearly always Blue. Where’s her tender blue boy, too?

Nina,
Every now and then, some individuals declare their ally status by organizing gatherings for open discourse on the tension. I usually attend them to survey their efforts.  Their numbers aren’t hearty, but I’ve been hoping the numbers actually have heart.

Nina,
They only mention you because nothing about my personality fits Boulder’s media-based view of me, down to the French name they can both speak & spell—it confuses and pisses them off something swell! They MUST associate me with some kind of Blackness. Thoughts of Simone Biles and Manuel were only a blink during Summer Olympics—because they can always name the athletes. This is the first reason why Simone Weil and de Beauvoir are never mentioned. The second is because most of their un-informed minds don’t do philosophy like that. And by “that” I mean moral thought penned by women.

Nina,
This answers your Why, Queen, the “what would happen now that” the King of Love is Dead.

Sincerely,
S.

Simone Liggins is currently earning her MFA in Creative Writing and her literary “ancestors” and various influences include but are not limited to: Sylvia Plath, Kurt Vonnegut, Octavia Butler, Lenore Kandel, Laurell K. Hamilton, The Beatles, Lady Gaga and Jimi Hendrix.

  • Diana Owen

    Incredible work. We live in a time where Facebook “feminism” and social media shouting against the patriarchy is all the rage… but when a person of color walks down the street they are ignored and dismissed. Simone evokes such emotion and longing in her writing. Bravo! Bravo! More please…