currently

completing their PhD at the Stanford AI Lab,
supported by the Open Philanthropy AI Fellowship
+ the PD Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

On my tenth birthday

On my tenth birthday
there was a blue boom box
and me
and a u2 cd
and I danced
in my living room
I choreographed a dance
in my living room
as if I was
well I just was
I was the fucking shit
and when I was elevenish
and I had a crush
I wrote a poppin pop song
and even when that crush
asked me out
on a bet
for a baseball card
and I knew it
I still said yes
and I don’t remember if that was before or after
he told my best friend
who told me
that he didn’t like black girls
and she told me that was racist
at least I think that’s what she said
I remember I couldn’t remember the word
just remembered it started with an ‘r’
because I’d never heard it before
or never understood enough to remember
I’m prettier now
in a conventional sense
white boys want to date me sometimes
and pretty brown girls
I’ve found a foundation that looks great on my skin
and some days my hair naturally curls like the girls on my instagram feed
and some days I wear red flowers in my hair
and some days I wear green colored contacts that reflect the light like magic
and don’t get me wrong
I love these things
for me
but I don’t know if I like the effect
it has on them
last time I danced
I was at a bar
and I felt freest when I closed my eyes
or when my boy’s hand was reaching for me
and I couldn’t separate feeling free
I couldn’t separate dancing
from being pretty
and sexy
and I couldn’t tell if I was smiling
for them or for me.