If I Could Vote, I’d Vote for Cardi B


by manuel arturo abreu

Our lady of those bags full of other bags
my mom always keeps under the sink back home
Help me be patient with the cave mayonnaise

The demon in my inner ear
tells me that a lack of hell is robotic
She reminds me to celebrate the Titanic today
That’s what you get for taunting God
And masturbating with fancy sauce

Guilt is the fantasy i anchor myself with
A sanctuary of displaced landfills

As European labor cognitivized, so too did alienation: being white means being alienated from
how violent and wasteful your existence is. You faintly hear from far away some managerese
about agile social workflow engagement rate application methodologies.

Think of it as a claim to desublimation. In other words: White women tossed aside the wages
for housework picket signs, entered the workforce, and hired black and brown women to do
domestic labor for almost nothing. The old American way: animal white infant suckling a dark
nipple, cooing for the absent referent. A cuckold encased in amber.

Yes, finally you have reached the poison
You tell me say yes to the dress
To pursue this lean in poetics by any means necessary

Apparently, not shaving is only feminist if you have a white pussy
I mean that’s chill you identify as an animal
But I often got called a monkey growing up
So forgive me if it seems like I’m humoring you
And I know now to treat white people like pets
The trick is to put a Starbucks in the gulag

As MF Doom says, living off borrowed time the clock ticks faster
When you’re stolen you’re stolen
All your affect is carceral
I know you see the blood of slaves and natives on the walls too
All the undocumented maids in the country couldn’t clean it
So you treat self-actualization as a branding exercise
Bad faith as a trick of the light

Hoping you don’t see that same charred face you see every night
Like Spinoza in his study, hoping the world is an idea in God’s mind
This would mean none of the violence is real

By the way how will you live without phallic metaphors
Rehab is always an option
Concepts are the dream of the citizen
This is what they prepared you for
In your glee you get deputized as a monster
All reverse empaths are fascists

‘If I Could Vote, I’d Vote for Cardi B’ has been shortlisted for the 2016 Berfrois Poetry Prize.


About the Author:

manuel arturo abreu (b. 1991, Santo Domingo) is a poet and artist from the Bronx, currently living and making in a garage in Southeast Portland. They work with text, ephemeral sculpture, and photography. Recent and forthcoming work is included in Apogee Journal, SFMoMA Open Space, Poor Claudia, Vetch, Rhizome, As It Stands LA, the NON Quarterly publication, NewHive, and more. They co-facilitate home school, a free pop-up art school in Portland. They wrote List of Consonants (Bottlecap Press, 2015) and transtrender (forthcoming Quimérica Books). Find manuel at