Steffan Triplett

“Used” is part of an exercise in queering Black, masculine narratives in popular music through blackout and erasure. Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” are two commercially successful, recognizable songs, but through erasure, the narratives have been altered and merged into a new reality—creating space out of narratives where queerness was not previously present, permissible, or made visible.

In a way, after some stripping away, these narratives already existed, they were just obscured by other noise, just as Black queerness has always existed. In this new form, these narratives, originally about heterosexual relationships, take on new layers of meaning.


[The following is an erasure poem, with | indicating, but by no means exhaustively, sections of blacked out text separating words on the same horizontal line] Indeed he digs on me. / He gives me mess with gold but broken / leave | you use / leave / leave | night when you need | love // when you need / that hot / thig // only // // Everybody knows / you | down / You take too much from us. | Bomb beauty with charm. / Fuck with us. | I can tell you look for the one. / I don't care, I still love gold. | Have you seen me? / I'm a digger when I'm in need. // You used to | one // I found out I was his nigga. / Sayin he ain't mess with no niggas. // Gotta go. / thing / I know | that / one thing // You and me | just don't get // places | you | belong // Now gold you need he can't buy, // leave. | out | in | our / Up his sleeves / he got ambition. // Stick by his side, he gon' leave your ass // for white. / love
Steffan Triplett is picture. Steffan has a short dark beard and mustache, and short curly dark hair. Steffan wears half- hornrimmed rounded eyeglasses, a dark navy shallow v- or crew-neck sweater, and a light blue oxford with the top button undone beneath. Steffan looks straight forward. Behind Steffan, obliquely, a gray shelving unit is visible.

Steffan Triplett is an instructor and MFA candidate at the University of Pittsburgh. Some of his work appears or is forthcoming in DIAGRAMThe OffingWildnessGhost ProposalKweli JournalFoundry, and Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color. Steffan has been a fellow for Callaloo and Lambda Literary and is a VONA/Voices alum. He was raised in Joplin, Missouri.