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“Seattle” by Donte ‘Da Queen’ Johnson

This poem was commissioned by the Seattle Arts Commission for the 2014 Mayor’s Arts Awards.


When i first asked for your name,
You said call me…
Seasonal Depression

Call me Overcast ,
Gray-faced rainfall

Call me flip-flops and tank tops
As long as the suns out and its
in the high fifties

Call me home homie,
Call me Filthy, dope,
greasy, janxy

Call me Souf End, CD,
Cap Hill, Beacon, ID, SoDo,
Renton, Georgetown

Call me now entering
Gentrification station
Thank you for boarding Link Light Rail

Call me push the brown people south

Call me Capitol Hill Aint Brown No More?!
Damn was that the 80’s

Call me Hipster Town

Call me Downtown ain’t
what it used to be

Call me Construction Catastrophe

Please dont call me when you realize all these
cranes look like nooses

Call me Too shy for “Hi”

Call me Passive Agressive

Call my actions racist,
just don’t call me out

Call me every time
someone uses the term
“Reverse Racism”
Call that Bullshit

Call me when you’re done looking up
Racism in the dictionary I’ll be sure to call you stupid
for forgetting who wrote the dictionary in the first place

Call me when the talk about racism
is over because i get too incomfortable

Don’t call me privileged I don’t
even own an I-Phone

Call me Bro-nouns

Call me when you’re going to Urban

Just don’t call me when my outfits culturally appropriating

Call me Thrift Shopper, Just don’t call me Macklemore,
I was thrift shopping before it was cool
Does that make me a hipster or a person of color?
Maybe both, Call me both

Call Me Pho during rainy days

Call me runny nose brat mispronouncing
other culture’s food names on purpose

Call me Igot a black friend
so now I can say everything’s ghetto right?

Call me nigga because
…there’s none of them around

Call me nigga because this
black friend is cool

Call me when you realize,
what I’m talking about it this poem


Call me truthful, Call me observant,
Call me Citizen, Call me townsfolk

Call me when you can tell the difference
between me and other people in this poem

Call me home, homie

I think i will just call you
Seattle for short.


Photo by Naomi Ishisaka