Today's Poem: BethenNoriko inspired by Terrance Hayes's "Shafro"

Terrance and me: Antioch MFA Graduation 2005.
Poet Terrance Hayes was the speaker at my MFA graduation and I've had a little writer's crush on him ever since. I used this poem with my classes and wrote this pop-culture bit. And there are only a few days left in April: National Poetry Month. Even David Gantt wrote a poem. Come on people. The comments section is for poems!

By Terrance Hayes

Now that my afro's as big as Shaft's
I feel a little better about myself.
How it warms my bullet-head in Winter,

black halo, frizzy hat of hair.
Shaft knew what a crown his was,
an orb compared to the bush

on the woman sleeping next to him.
(There was always a woman
sleeping next to him. I keep thinking,

If I'd only talk to strangers. . .
grow a more perfect head of hair.)
His afro was a crown.

Bullet after barreling bullet,
fist-fights & car chases,
three movies & a brief TV series,

never one muffled strand,
never dampened by sweat--
I sweat in even the least heroic of situations.

I'm sure you won't believe this,
but if a policeman walks behind me, I tremble:
What would Shaft do? What would Shaft do?

Bits of my courage flake away like dandruff.
I'm sweating even as I tell you this,
I'm not cool,

I keep the real me tucked beneath a wig,
I'm a small American frog.
I grow beautiful as the theatre dims.
By Noriko Nakada
Inspired by Terrance Hayes’ “Shafro”

I see you on TV
So thin,
So skinny.
And I think I hate you.

But Bethenny, you actually crack me up.

I want to hate you
With your book deal
And reality TV show
And perfect little baby.

But I want to drink Skinny Girl margaritas too.

I want to lounge by a pool in Malibu
And do yoga
And ice skate with stars
And visit food trucks.

But I don’t get how you’re so skinny.

When TV adds ten pounds
And you like your drinks (even if they are skinny)
And you’re a foodie
All at the same time.


  1. Hmmm- kinda felt like you were verbalizing some of my own thoughts in this poem. Thanks for bravely writing what we're all thinking! (and seriously- TV does add 10 pounds, so how does she do it?!!)

  2. How does she do it? My guess... Portion control & meal skipping.