Wall Street et. al.

The Complexity of Detail, Olivia Offutt

Oh America, you bad bitch 

I picked the cotton that made you rich

-Kendrick Lamar, “For Free? (Interlude)”


new York was once new Amsterdam 

and new Amsterdam once had 11 men—then

lifetimes later spawned the empire city 

and the Black men & Red men built Wall Street

and the Black Women & Red Women—  

oh America

and now, white men in cotton ties & gold cufflinks 

sip their coffees on the 3 and 4, 

riding through the underground, 

mangling its ghosts. 


exit: Lexington Ave, past that mosaic map of

new Amsterdam before new York

enter: me, the toe of Black heels

pressing damn ma’s into pavement before

fuck you bitch, you ain’t that bad anyway

a white Woman with her tiffany crossbody

leverages the scene, says: 

i’ll get my uncle sam to fuck you up

and my Black heels make like crossing graves

i’m headed down Broadway & Nothing.

About the Author

Zain Murdock · Columbia University

Zain Murdock is a poet and criminal justice writer who loves radically – and is most definitely a Pisces. When Zain dies, she hopes to grab a drink with James Baldwin and ask him when, or if, he thinks the world is going to be okay. Her work can also be found in Slice Magazine and The Missouri Review. This piece first appeared in The Adroit Journal

About the Artist

Olivia Offutt · George Mason University

This piece first appeared in Volition. For more of Olivia Offutt’s art, visit her Instagram @oliviaoffuttillustration.

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