Exclusive: Michael Cirelli’s Poem about the Obamas’ First Date


In response to popular demand, we present “Michelle,” a poem imagining the night our new President took the First Lady out for the very first time.


She answered the door

in a simple red dress,

her hair folded into a tight

spool – Barack wanted to grip

the polished rung

of her collarbone and climb

into her mouth, but this was

their first date, so they hot boxed

his blue Jetta until the smoke

was so thick it could be spread

onto shortcake, and he promised

her adjectives like interesting

and audacious, and he rolled

another jay, not wanting

to come ‘cross no square brother

at the firm,

and Michelle liked the way

his words were pennies flicked

into a fountain, and finally

they checked out a Spike Lee joint,

and after the movie he fit

his hand into hers all the way

home where he sealed his lips

to her ear and promised

an obelisk for her garden.

Michael Cirelli is the Executive Director of Urban Word NYC, an award-winning youth literary arts organization. He is also the author of Lobster with Ol’ Dirty Bastard (Hanging Loose 2008), which was a New York Times bestseller for poetry from an independent press, and Hip-Hop Poetry & the Classics (Milk Mug 2009), a standards-based curriculum that engages the intersection between hip-hop and classic poetry. His work has appeared widely in journals and anthologies, as well as featured in Poets & Writers, World Literature Today, King Magazine, and on Def Poetry Jam. His new book, Vacations on the Black Star Line, is forthcoming from Hanging Loose Press.