Last month I did a reading at Malvern Books in Austin, Texas, and reading along with me that night was a poet from Austin named Nia KB. They were awesome, and I’m totally going to look them up next time I’m there! This is a poet to watch for.
KB read several poems I really enjoyed and was gracious enough to let me use one for the series this year. It took so long for me to decide which one, because they were all so good, but here it is, “Sin City.” And if you go to Malvern Books’ Facebook page and scroll down to March 16th, you can find a video of them reading their work that night.
I’m tired of taking orders, answering phone calls, wasting time
sweeping floors that aren’t mine, working for daniel/david/lester,
being annoyed by becky/lindsey/heather, getting all my customers stolen
cause I’m not the pretty girl at the bar, leaving clues like an ameteur sleuth
that I don’t want to be here, going to/leaving work broke — I’m just tired.
Tired of telling trauma not today, Satan. Telling grief and depression not today, Satan.
Telling being human and feeling not any day but especially not today. I’m tired
of being the Black girl in your workshop/workplace, tired of teaching
how not to be racist/sexist/stupid, tired of talking when no one’s listening
and shaking my head to your senile status quo. In a perfect world,
I’d be somewhere away from here, running swift with my pink slip
ready to slit anyone who dismissed me with heart-bleeding bliss
and sit in your white-ass classroom with a grin, waiting on my turn to spit
my needed feedback on your Black girl poem, not wondering if this
is where I’m supposed to be. I’d finally have money to get my A/C fixed, lose
weight for old jeans to fit, then get drinks at Stonewall to reminisce
on a time when I wasn’t tired, and smoking weed/taking risks
were the only sins I embraced, heart full with love, hands dripping with possibility.
Nia KB [they/them] is a Black queer nonbinary poet, editor, and educator. They’ve received fellowships from Lambda Literary, Winter Tangerine, The Speakeasy Project, and UTSA’s African American Literatures and Cultures Institute. Their poetry appears or is forthcoming in Rising Phoenix Review, Pamplemousse, Eleven40Seven, Pink Plastic House, and elsewhere. When they’re not blessing stages or writing pages, they serve as Associate Poetry Editor for fields Magazine, Curator/Host of the open mic/reading series Austin Interfaces, Teaching Artist for Austin Library Foundation’s Badgerdog Creative Writing Program, and proud member of Lenguas Loc@s Writer’s Collective. If you got this far, follow them on the interwebs [at] nia_kb.
“Sin City” first appeared in Pamplemousse.