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Sasha Debevec-McKenney is a graduate of Beloit College. Beginning in the fall, she will be the Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow at New York University. 

"First African American Bachelorette, 2017" was awarded the 2018 Peach Silver in Poetry by guest judge Morgan Parker.

Because obviously. Because I am a sucker for reality show poems and anything concerning black women and desirability. And because of lines like "I can pretend to love anyone for the right reasons."


2 poems

by Sasha Debevec-McKenney

First African American Bachelorette, 2017


I’m famous now. This morning I masturbated in a hammock.

This afternoon, photo shoots. B-roll. Footage of me without love

in my life. I throw rose petals in the air and and put my hands out,


grabbing. The photographer says it's about the falling

not the having. Try and look more surprised.

If I pick a black guy it won’t play as well. Petal, petals. An entire rose


rests in my cleavage. I can pretend to love anyone for the right reasons.

Once my white friend told me if he shuts his eyes and imagines

his bride she is white. I model my skills Miss America style: slowly


bagging groceries with ease, hip out, french inhaling the perfect

joint by the lake. I am more approachable in slow motion.

I never believed in loving two people but then two people


loved me at once. Why stop at two? Why stop, ever,

I’m already touching myself in this hot tub. Do I look

okay? Am I enough? The limos are coming.

Cardi B @ The Breakers


The wallpaper here is platinum but

I wrote my first hit single on an airplane.

That’s right, in the fucking air. I fly.

I don’t have to be touching the ground

to stunt, but I do it for my fans.

You’ve never smelled anyone like me before.

Some of my power comes from bitches

I hate, some comes from bitches that hate me.

You can buy an ass, but ass shaking is handed

down, generation to generation.

My apartment’s full of flowers. Every room

in my body is a breakfast room.

I have a head for each wig.

I bought a car; I can’t drive but I walk

alongside and out race it.  My nails are too long to roll

my own blunts. Everything

people give to me I take. Nobody’s

ever gonna say I didn’t work for this.

A robin laid eggs outside my window this morning,

and you want to try and talk shit about

what’s wealth? Fry ‘em. Everyone in my crew

gets a taste.

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