Candace Williams

PRINCIPLES OF VALUE

  •  
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  • The first step to finding self-worth is breaking 
  • yourself into units 
  • of desire—gender is a binary 
  •  
  • triggered by genitals; academic degrees mark wisdom; your skin’s degree 
  • of pigment proxies ancestry—your ancestors were naturally rich 
  • in melanin; your ancestors were tallied
  •  
  • on shopping lists; your ancestors were squeezed 
  • and haggled fruit at a market stand but you never left the market— 
  • the market is your bedroom; the market is last night’s dream; the market is your love
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  • sleeping next to you, is your buzzing alarm—you wake up in a panic 
  • searching for an exit; your sight is obscured by violence—gender is not binary 
  • but expression is taxed to the margin; academic degrees are not wisdom
  •  
  • but privilege is a discount on prosperity; your skin’s degree of pigment taxes the nerves of
  • privilege; your skin’s degree of pigment is the weight of every sunk ship in the ocean;
  • your skin’s degree of pigment is the flowering soil of progress.

CANDACE WILLIAMS is a Brooklyn Poets Fellow and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sixth Finch, Lambda Literary Review, and Copper Nickel. She earned her MA in Elementary Education at Stanford University and has taken workshops at Cave Canem.


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