We Can’t Afford It


We can’t afford it

We’ve been nickeled and dimed far too many times

To make fun of our sisters on the welfare line or

To make fun of the young queens on the payday loan line in a bind

Trying to pay fall tuition in the wintertime

No more change left to spare

There’s no room to instigate and

publicly humiliate our brothers

Behind on child support and


On the bench of the court

The same court that pit them

Against their fellow sisters and brothers and their own baby’s mothers

It costs too much

We don’t have enough to share videos

of fights on social media and the news and

Spectate and point at black people like

animals in a zoo

We don’t have enough to plaster photos all over of our women and our girls with no clothes on bending over

over and over and over again

Because the slave master’s check was never enough for us to spend

We can’t afford it

This predicament this

Carefully crafted division

Impedes the vision of our ancestors

The best laid plans of our foremothers and our forefathers

Why are we not bothered enough

by the darkness driving out the light?

Tonight there are torches glowing in the night’s sky

This day is far from 1959

Or is it? Part of the plan?

Black woman

Black man

We don’t stand a chance if

We don’t even take a stand

The piggy bank broke when we turned our backs on each other and

now we’re stuck stealing coins from our sisters and our brothers because

We can’t afford it

7 thoughts on “We Can’t Afford It”

  1. Powerful words. I personally have been in some of those situations. Years ago when I was unemployed I had to get food stamps, been a recipient of NYC HRA One Stop Loans that you get from the City to pay your rent and had some horrible experiences with Payday Loans. Fortunately Payday Loans are illegal in New York and I was able to contact the Attorney General’s office to get them off my back. They are just loan sharks who prey on desperate working poor.

    Interesting that you should mention my birth year 1959. Definitely a pivotal year.

    Growing up in the 1960s/70s it was a neighborhood not a ‘hood.’ Neighbors helped each other through death, blackouts, shoveling snow, babysitting, etc… We watched out for each other. Children were trained to respect adults and if another person saw you doing something that you were not supposed to do or somewhere you should not be they would call your parents. Due to the fact that my brother is developmentally disabled my mother could not have a job outside our home so many times I saw my Dad work 2 or 3 jobs to support us. My parents were a cohesive unit who worked together to raise my brother and me. I really can’t stand these “Housewives” TV shows that make out Black Women and Men to be greedy, backstabbing without morals or values. Then again if you get on the subway when school lets out the language you hear from the teens especially the girls will totally disgust you.

    I’m just an older woman reflecting on times past. Thanks for allowing me to comment.

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