Redefining north.

Pokedex Entry #131: Lapras by Marlin M. Jenkins


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Pokedex Entry #131: Lapras

“People have driven Lapras almost to the point of extinction. In the evenings, this Pokémon is said to sing plaintively as it seeks what few others of its kind still remain.”

You find yourself in a room where Drake and Snoop
and Kendrick play at a dance party you stumbled into
and again you hear nigga over white speakers and
uncomfortable only begins to explain how you feel
and you’re the only black person in the room
like you’ve been so often and people are trying to get you
to dance but you just want to leave shit you just want
to leave but they want you to dance they want you
to enjoy this on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s
death on a day where you feel so few and wish to sing
the song of your own authentic and rugged and sweet
and this circle of people feels like circus ring
or maybe more like cage or maybe more like
a ring of thieves and you say to yourself it’s just
music I mean it’s just a birthday party I mean it’s just
people having fun just the smell of booze and sweat
in a dark room where people are just people
and are just celebrating but that doesn’t stop you
from feeling out of place and scared and profoundly
upset to say the least and you know your people keep
dying while your music plays at parties where before
you walked in there were no black people
so you leave and go listen to your own rap music
from your own iTunes with your own headphones
on your own laptop to hear the songs
of us trying to remain to survive despite
to sing something to find each other again

Marlin M. Jenkins was born and raised in Detroit and is a poetry student in University of Michigan's MFA program. His writings have been given homes by The Collagist, The Journal, Word Riot, and The Offing, among others. You can find him online at and @Marlin_Poet.

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