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Nicole Shanté


dating while queer/ in bedroom and in classroom. dating while black/ in skin color and in soul/ in America and in rage/ in and out of context; with or without the backstory. dating while womyn/ in fear and in fury/ in ricocheting echo and in library murmur. dating while broke/ while art is/ dating while womanist – woke from a slumber that once let jokes be funny, let lovers be cunning. dating while wallowing in a sad forever out to swallow – while trying to make use of this stubborn hollow. dating while getting out of bed feels like walking through a fire. dating while tripping over trauma, while waiting for expensive language to build a sanctuary for this spiraling. while rummaging through fragile insides in search of a joy gone missing before grammy’s first breath. dating while trying not to let this hurt spill & strike. while holding all of this coping accountable. dating while forgiving with shivering teeth and a double dutching gut. dating while body quakes for an intimacy that doesn’t begin or end with an orgasm. dating while clicking & swipping & snapping & tumbling. dating while giving an abundance of fucks; while ain’t nobody got time for that. dating while unlearning. while sweeping my queendom. while cackling and slaying and sippin and twerking, while bumping Sade and rolling another one.


Nicole Shanté is a silent cacophony. The quiet one yo mama warned you about. She is a cluster of Midwest accents and Southern hospitality, but currently resides in Brooklyn where she teaches dance, poetry, and social justice. She is a contributing staff writer for Sula Collective, an online magazine for and by people of color. Her work encompasses her experiences as a queer womyn of color on a continuous journey of healing.


See full list of 2016 Emerging Poets Fellows