My Room

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It don’t have to hurt if

I stay in here with my thoughts and with

My mind because sometimes

I rather spend time with them because

Sometimes it hurts too much on the outside

It hurts so bad when reality hits me

It hurts and I

I lie and

I say “I’m fine, I’m fine” but the truth is

There’s a very thin line between the lie I tell and the tears and the fears that lie on the inside

It don’t have to hurt if I stay in here

If I stay clear of the news and the television and

If I don’t hear about more Black children gone missin or

No longer livin

If I don’t have to let my cup drain dry from the alibis of people always gettin and never really givin then

Maybe it won’t hurt

If I stay in here I don’t have to be misunderstood and if I stay in here

I could get to know me better because

In here she doesn’t have to be censored or assimilated or inundated with masks or with doubt

In here I could really learn what she’s really all about

Too loud, too dark, too I-don’t-really-look-the-part out there but in here

the part is all mine

And the time is my time, because sometimes there ain’t no time for me on the outside

All the while I reclaim my time while the outside still has the nerve to still say it still ain’t all mine

Corporations make money off the sick

While we all chokin’ out here on air that’s too thick while they tell us that

Global warming “doesn’t really exist” and

We all play the part, but the lies

They really don’t stick

It’s sick

But as the ways of the world smolder outside my door

I look over my shoulder and turn my back to the fire

It’s far too much to bare

It don’t have to hurt

So until the smoke clears

I’ll be in here

Little Black Girl Armed

me microscope
Me, circa 1997

You

Can see the spark in her eyes when

She raises her hand and

When she writes her thoughts out

Or when she opens up a book

Meanwhile the others look

Down on her, the others think less

Of her because they’re shook

By this little Black girl armed

with a mind and a book

They

Don’t know what to do and

They don’t know what to say so

They cover their papers as she looks

The other way on test day because

they wanna say

She is copying their test knowing

Damn well she isn’t

Knowing damn well she knows

The answers

Knowing damn well the answer is

To never question the intellect of the

Precocious little kid

Because she is Black

While fighting what their parents taught them

About who is who and

What their parents taught them

About colors

She

Has it hard in high school

And so do her body, mind and spirit too

Too good for JV, too dark for AP and

Too “white” for the step team, so it seems

She

Doesn’t really know what all this means

Until she met this boy on her way to the bus

He approached her and he read in between the lines that

She was focused on something different

So he said “Listen.

If you keep your nose in them books like that you ain’t ever gonna get no man.”

Words meant to change her course and her plan did no such thing

She walked away and he was shook

By this little Black girl armed

With a mind and a book

She

Grew up and saw the spark

In another young girl’s eye and

She shed a tear and held in a cry because

It took her back to a time when

Being a little Black girl armed

With a mind and a book was

Revolutionary

Then she looked the girl in the eye again and it was a little scary because she

Realized the revolution is far from over for

This little precocious kid

Because she is Black

On Her Way to School

car

Before she pulls off

He makes sure she’s safe and

Buckled in before they begin

Their conversation

The stimulation of his listening ear

The way he listens is

Not of this world and

Neither is she

The people in the other cars be

Lookin

They be looking at them half crazy

Crazy Like the crazy type that be talking to themselves

But she is never alone and

She knows it

And maybe they do too

As she drives and

As she stops talking she

Be listening and he

Be telling her everything she needs to know but

The silence is loud as ever

So loud that the people on the street

Are overcome by his words

The power of these words that

They haven’t even heard but

If they listened to him like her they

Too could have this stimulation and

This conversation

Some of the people called her a loon and

Some of the people called her a fool but

All she was doin was talking to God on her way to school

Malcolm X

On this day in 1925, Malcolm X was born. He would have been 84  years old today.

malcolm x book

“My black brothers and sisters — of all religious beliefs, or of no religious beliefs — we all have in common the greatest binding tie we could have. We are all black people!”

Microaggression

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Microaggression

That thing that is a thing

That really isn’t a thing

It’s real in a scholarly article or

In a library database

But the minute the word leaves my lips

To describe how I live

It’s fake

 

Unreasonable doubt

 

Microaggression

Too vulgar for your after-school special

But not enough for a therapy session

Because there’s no cure for oppression

There’s no medicine for this disease

Even though I have symptoms everyday

Symptoms that you may not ever even see

That no vaccination or inoculation could

Ever prevent

This is a diagnosis; this is a dose of reality

My pain, my wound, my infliction, my condition – it’s there

Trust me

 

Blind faith

 

Microaggression

Is when you don’t like someone for no reason —

Wait, there is a reason, but it remains to be unsaid

Even though it’s in your heart and

All up in your head

But you can hear it if

You’re really quiet and you really listen

To your bias and to your intuition

Microaggression by definition is

Subtle discrimination

Every day, threaded

The fabric of this nation

 

Sight seen and unseen

 

Microagression

Is If I looked like you, I would have gotten the job that you do and

I really like your people, and

I just love their hair too

Can I touch it? I mean, is it okay with you? or

You’re my favorite friend of color, my brother

Who knows your truth better than me?

 

Microaggression

I find you in traveling lectures and

In fancy books by fancy smancy professors

But I see you more in the hallways

And in the mall

And at work and

At the bar and

On Facebook and

On the news

And in my neighborhood

And in my blues

 

Too close to home

 

Microaggression

But you go by another name:

The girl that sits next to me in class who

Covers her tests with her hands thinking

Her answers are the only reason I

Pass

Or the mother that grabs her child’s hand real tight

When I walk by at night

And in the daytime and

The co-worker who pretends to be my friend but

Soon as I turn my back, she’s criticizing me and the position

I don’t deserve to be in

Who’s who?

 

You’re with me everyday

Some of you I don’t even know

Yet and still, I know you better than I

Ever knew myself

Mine

mine-image
Because I’m here — and there’s nothing they can do about it.
for a second
I thought I wasn’t supposed to be
here
second guessing never gave anybody the right answer anyway
but on second thought
like a bulldozer
you wore down and
you tore down
the temple
my temple
I’ve spent my whole entire life building
and rebuilding and rebuilding
brick
by brick
by brick
my life’s work
and all this time I thought my time was well spent
until you looked me in the eye
from the other side of the table
while you sat in your seat and
I sat in mine
I didn’t know eyes could talk
until that day
the day I got a seat
at the table
like a fable
you looked at me like
a lie like
a joke like
a mess
well I laughed too see I laughed at
you
because I was too damn big for your small little mind to process
progress
you spoke no words
but your message couldn’t have been any more clear
while your spirit was screaming
I wasn’t supposed to be here
I wasn’t supposed to be
but I’m still
here
while you sit in your seat and I sit in
Mine.

Inventory

girl on stairs

Have you taken inventory lately?

Of what’s real

Of what’s fake

Of what shoulda never been up in there in the first damn place?

I speak not just of things

People is inventory too

Real ones be out of stock

like a shirt

like a shoe

Sometimes you gotta clean house first

Give some shit the boot

Throw out an old thing or two

Like that fling that never ever really

Flew or

Those new friends that be too-new-to-be-true friends or

Your own folk, kin

The kin that never was even yo friend

When the inventory is low

It’s time to reorder, time to replenish

All of your self  and all of your shit

No more junk, no more shit that don’t last

That load don’t get no lighter ’til you take out that trash