Holding America Accountable: be/trouble by bridgette bianca

FROM: Lit Pub

Poet bridgette bianca wants you to know about black people. About black women. About herself. She wants you to understand that their lives are always in danger; that they ready themselves with armor for what the day will throw at them, how amazing; how “bad” they truly are.

In doing so bianca breaks up her debut collection, be/trouble, into four sections—“and the living be,” “this much i know is true,” “our fallen” and “ain’t we a dream too”—sprinkling in their amazingness between all the pain and violence and death they experience every day. bianca breaks her collection into helpful sections, not to make the poems easier to understand or easier to take in, but to ensure she, a black woman, is being heard. As such, she makes clear that her audience is white America, as she pushes back against America’s long and continued history of silencing black women, only noticing them when they can comfort—care—for white people during their most difficult times.

In the first poem “at least i can say” bianca opens by giving context for her discussion of black lives saying from personal experience, “i have/always been keenly aware/that i/could die any day” and “i have/always been sure something/was trying/to kill me.” It’s how black lives are lived each and every day. Danger, death, the possibility of it affecting every choice, as she says in “a saturday night,” about driving while black. bianca asks, “what do you do when you see lights in the rearview mirror/what do you do when the siren loops around your throat.” The use of “you” draws in and implicates the reader in this discussion on policing, effectively gives them a moment to reflect on their own experience, to allow bianca to make her point about how her experience, and by extension black peoples, are different from the readers’. Read Rest of Review Here

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