Janna Ireland

Other Ways to Say Black Face

Audio produced by T Bone Burnett and David Leonard

Take the cork   he said       We were out
Walking     it made me feel free  he said
I stopped walking  I said  I’m sorry I beg
Your pardon  Takethecork  do you mean
Blackface   Yes that’s right    he said   It’s
Natural  to want  tobedifferent   to want
To    feel  free    OhWhiteBoy    oh Lord
Oh tell me sir  yes  tell me  how you want
To FeelFree   ole boy   here   on my street
Tell me    do I    make you    free      am I
Your new black face     I mean   my black
Face next to yours  my    black      mouth
On your mouth    does that    free     you
From your     trim    white   body      like
That cork     do    am I      just   your little
Thick black sweet cork    screw  Youknow
Howitworks   he said    After your parents
Have opened the bottle  of wine  take one
And     burn      the bottom         Takeone
I said     One what      I said   Oh the cork
I said     Oh right    oh white boy  oh Lord
Oh  the street    fell away   oh    I’d let you
Put your  hands    on my body       in both
Of our     wanting      and now      you say
Blackface   and you say   Free  and you say
Natural and you look at me    and you say
Free    again   and   Burnthebottom     and
Before I can conjure   your     young  white
Hands  with they     match    burned   cork
Smudging      your face      till it         Feels
Black      and          free          I am     afraid
Of how much    You   don’t    know      and
I am afraid     of how much    I   can  stand
Oh white boy Oh Lord  Oh  Takeyourcork
Put it back    in the bottle     yes      stop up
Everything  left  of that  strange    nostalgia
Stop looking  to    Feel free         in my skin
Oh give it back to me       without the burn
Without the cork                  My skin looks
To you     like the freedom        your skin is