pretty, gifted girls
sweet and sexy things,
little Johnny from Price & 5th
ogles at their curves in
fitted jeans and we stand
as one, waiting for him to
pass us by.
“he’s nasty, with his old self.”
claudia is the first to mouth
her disgust with little Johnny.
I wave in his direction, shout
at him to get in front of us
and stay off our block.
he knows the crew from around-the-way
will slice him up good for
even blinking at us or
crowding our space.
word on the street is, he’s had his
tongue butchered for whistling
at donnicka five years ago.
“he better get on around that
corner if he knows what’s good for him.”
we form a line, kick our
kicks up on the stoop, and
throw our wishes up
to the sun.
They tell me, erasing one’s
bloodline is not something
they can do, however, I’m
censored and erased without permission
and I wonder,
“Is it what I’m saying or how
I’m saying it?”
And I sit and watch the people
of the world gather amongst
themselves to finally show us
their vocal sides of life.
I guess being silent came
at a heavy price and not everyone
can carry a cross.
Not everyone’s built for burdens
thrown upon their shoulders at
a moment’s notice.
I’ve found my cross to bear is mine
and mine alone — I carry it knowing
this life is not my last.
Many are learning about Tulsa, Rosewood, Atlanta, and Wilmington
and they think they know the struggles
of a people who have done nothing but
fight for basic rights to
claim the fight from us.
Yes, we need your voices.
We need you to understand that
this — this being black and fighting
is a thing that has been a thing and
now with new eyes placed upon
fresh faces, millions see what should
have been seen centuries ago.
Removed from history books, our stories
were buried in places where cobwebs
hide and tethered papers have been
forbidden to see the light of day.
You tear down a few statues, remove
racist blips from comedic performances,
change the names of products drenched in hate,
and feel as though this should . . .
Shut. Us. Up.
Oh, ye’ of little faith, we are only
growing stronger and the fight that
will come after this will be one
spoken about years beyond the depth
and breadth of the color of one’s skin.
Said blue to the flower, “If I were you,
I’d scatter my petals across the nation–giving
everyone a piece of me.”
The flower looked on, bent its stem,
and scolded blue. “But, you are not
me. You are in the sky, of the ocean,
and the feeling of broken hearts.
I am what people pick when
they want to see a smile on
their loved ones’ faces. I am
fresh pine in the midnight hour,
A statement for a dying soul. I am
lilac & jasmine, clover & rose–the
depth of beauty on a toddler’s fingertips.”
blue listened, eager to understand–yearning
to know just why the flower was so special.
“I am God’s explanation for tears
buried in the sand. You could never be
me, not even if you tried endlessly.”
And with that, blue sat alone with its thoughts.
Its heart beat faster and its eyes grew tired.
The sun tilted its head, leaned over blue’s face,
and lit up its life.