(Insert Assault on Black Lives) (Insert Year)

“You rape our women and you’re taking over our country”

I read these words and my palms become dirty and calloused

from the hands of those who tried to hold fast to red dirt

in our native countries, clawing to hold on dreams and lives

that can now be found at the bottom of the Atlantic

What to the Negro is the Fourth of July?

We have been standing on foreign soil

That we have tried for years to mix with red dirt palm prints

Yet all it has done is swirl and swirl and swirl

And if Alice was right and land belongs to those

who have buried bodies on it

Then this indeed is our home too–even more

because it was built on our backs and the sweat from our brows

One life–millions of lives, for a country we aren’t allowed to call home

“You rape our women and you’re taking over our country”

I read these words and my womb contracts and bleeds

with the inherited memory of the ‘massa’s touch’

on young flesh as beautiful black bodies

are made ugly by the touch of power and lust for the ‘exotic’

You took her body and made it your own and

I AM HER DAUGHTER

Her legacy

Her pride and joy, who still is branded second-class by ‘feminism’

Rejected in sisterhood and made monsters in bikinis by age 14

We have carried the lifeblood of our murderers and our rapists

With just one life to live, it has never been for ourselves

I was raised in a house of prayer

We join hands and ask God that where two or three

are gathered, He will answer our prayers

But I don’t know quite what to pray for

When those invited into spaces of worship

Reign blood baths down on bowed heads and bent knees

And I think of little girls in white dresses in Birmingham streets

Where are we safe?

I am murdered in streets

In churches

On front porches

In my own house

While holding candy

While just trying to breathe

Where can blackness survive?

And when can it not just survive, but thrive, and be FREE?

I lay my body down to try and claim the spaces

that I am not allowed to inhabit

And I am walked over

trampled to the margins

I walk into a room

and you feel uncomfortable

I speak my truth and you silence my life

I am weary

The unwanted becomes the annihilated 

Black is strength. Black is love. Black is beauty. Black is spiritual. Black is power. Black is aware. Black is…

As my mantra gets longer, so does the time it takes to convince myself that anyone is listening.

Some days I don’t know if I’ve really survived

My heart barely feels like it’s beating

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