Don’t Call Me Middle Class

I don’t see how
someone looks at me
and musters the
gall to say that I am middle class;

I am clothed in blue-
black skin here in the
United States of America
with childhood memories
of sewer rats on stoves
with blood-red eyes,
and roaches that
called from open garbage
like the whispers
of a delphinium sea.

And an adolescence
with scenes of
my brother preparing
weed in my grandmother’s
Victorian house
to sell somewhere,
and the return of roaches
to the little azure house where
my father and his dead wife lived,
crawling over plastic
in the night mimicking
the heavenly song of rain,

and finally my adulthood
where I have two degrees,
but no job, and still
the close presence of
roaches, though much
more infrequent in their appearances—
surprising apparitions of the dark
who make no sound at all.

Denzel Xavier Scott is a semi-closeted black queer writer who earned his BA in English from the University of Chicago and received his Writing MFA at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in his hometown of Savannah, GA.

His prose and poetry appear in various literary magazines: Rattle, Empty Mirror, Spillway, decomP magazinE, both Euphony Journal and Blacklight Magazine of the University of Chicago, Linden Avenue, 3Elements Literary Review, The Cortland Review, The Louisville Review, Random Sample Review, HIV Here & Now, a project of Indolent Books, and many others.

Denzel Scott is a past recipient of the University of Chicago’s prestigious Summer Arts Council Fellowship Grant. In September 2018, he became one of the winners of Writer’s Relief’s Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award.

His Twitter link is: He’s a friendly, enthusiastic tweeter.

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