“Brown Eyes” by Conney Williams

the humid and hard poverty
of her country hid slothfully
behind the brown of her eyes
and she is sixteen
still comfortable inside
the white and blue
of her Catholic uniform
those brown
sunburned high school eyes
laying between a stranger’s
sheet    comforter    and lust
these eyes
that have known more lovers
than math exams
her mother and father
were named Iceberg and Slim
the family needs to eat
and they know best
how to exploit tenderness
and those chocolate eyes
and her female
are California 1849
they hold barter within them
these parochial brown eyes
like those Columbus
saw and raped in 1492
or was it some other discoverer
of nations and people
who already knew who they were
but were waiting waiting
patiently to be colonized
and she is laying between
the sheet and comforter
ready for her body
to be filled with the flags
of all those countries
she has never visited
all those countries
whose ambassadors
whose only concern
planting inside fertile ground
however she is ready
not to matriculate
she is ready to peel away skin
ready to disrobe     virginity
so that when she goes to school
walks through the neighborhood
or is seen on her
favorite social media
she looks more than poor
more than the reflection
from those brown eyes
that lie to her about who she is
she is almost seventeen
and wants a Samsung Galaxy 3
not a Samsung Galaxy 4 or 5
because it’s more valuable
than who she is now
or can ever see herself to be
it is worth more than
whom her parents
can ever convince she is


Conney D. Williams is a poet, actor, community activist, and performance artist with two collections of poetry Leaves of Spilled Spirit from an Untamed Poet (2002) and Blues Red Soul Falsetto. In 2015, he released two critically acclaimed CDs of his poetry accompanied by music titled: River&Moan and Unsettled Water. He is formerly the Artistic Director at the World Stage and Coordinator for the Anansi Writers Workshop. His poems have also been published in various anthologies & journals including Voices from Leimert, Cultural Weekly, Wide Awake Anthology, and Poets & Allies Anthology. He has performed his poetry on television, radio, universities & colleges, and various venues across the U.S. Find more about him at



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