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what even is happening?!

Two years ago I wrote a poem about the events in Ferguson (which I apparently never posted here?). I was thinking about that tonight - how two years later, nothing’s better.

I am not Black. I apologize if this offends anyone. I am a poet; if this poem oversteps, please tell me and I’ll take it down.

Written July 8, 2016

Two years ago,
I wrote a poem because the world
Was violent, blood-stained,
Frightening and terrible,
Because I read the stories,
Because I watched the news and I wondered:
Will this litany stop?

Two years ago.

Say their names.

I live in Hurricane Country;
I’ve watched the storms overhead,
Heard the wind roar and rain lash,
Watched trees topple over.
I’ve driven through my city
With all the power out,
When all was quiet and all was dark.

I wonder:
What will it take to cleanse after this?

Say their names.

History isn’t forgotten,
Not truly.
You can whitewash,
Can talk over, can twist—
But it sinks into the ground,
Settles into bones,
Is there in the silence,
Lurking in every look,
Every word, every act.
It isn’t forgotten.

Don’t claim to be afraid
When all you want
Is to keep everything
The way it’s been
Since before this country
Had a name that’s always been a lie.

You’re not afraid.

Say their names.

Your voice has always been heard;
Your want has always ruled the world.
Your needs are met, your desires are
All over TV, movies, billboards, magazines—
Going by what is published,
The world is yours and always has been.

You’re not the only person in the world
And everyone else has had enough.
Your story isn’t the only one to be told;
Your life isn’t the only one that matters.
History can’t be forgotten.

Two years ago.
Two centuries ago.
You don’t get to ignore
The blood and the anguish
That led to this point,
Every last indignity
And every last lie.

I wonder:
Could even a hurricane wash this away?

I remember:
New Orleans
And I know.

Say their names.
Remember the cost.
Don’t forget what can’t be forgotten
And do better than everyone
Who let all this happen,
Who stacked the tinder and lit the spark.

Say their names
And realize you
Are not the only
Person in the world.

Don’t claim to be afraid.
You’re not the one who’s terrified.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 9th, 2016 12:48 pm (UTC)
Good poem.
Jul. 10th, 2016 04:58 am (UTC)

Thank you!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


king of the jungle
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