Tag Archives: family

I Still Don’t Like History

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Me, at an overlook of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 2016

I pass by the house

The childhood of my dreams

All the love I could ever want or need

Was in it

Y’all did it

The Black American Dream

Y’all did it

And I like to look back but

That doesn’t change the fact that

I don’t like history

I hated that class with a passion

The past

Because it’s almost worse than math

Because the numbers say the odds are against me

What’s worse than that?

House on the lake south of the river

Apartment building downtown

Still reppin for the hood

Y’all did like the white folk

I guess to some people that’s supposed to mean you done good

The perfect home torn asunder

By the perfect storm

It was warm

But I knew something wasn’t right

My tears burned when I would cry

When y’all would fight

But it was still warm

Forehead kisses in the middle of the night when y’all used to check on me and

tuck me in tight

Under my skylight

Under the stars

The tension was so thick between y’all I could cut it with a knife

But what does an 8 year old know about knives and

What does an 8 year old know about life?

You went your separate ways and it had to be done

It was for the best

Y’all had a good run

Somebody dropped the ball

The last inning, the end of the game

I was in the crowd, I was your biggest fan and

I still am

But I still don’t like history

Now I’m grown and

Whenever I’m alone

I am haunted

As yesterday whispers in my ear today is in tears because the what ifs of tomorrow burn

Like the tears from when I was 8

I am worried and afraid of

The childhood of my dreams and

All the love I could ever want or need

Worried and afraid of history repeating itself

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We Can’t Afford It

boysittin

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

Sitting

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

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

Survival of the Fittest

There’s a war going on outside no man is safe from. Mobb Deep used these lyrics to describe life on the streets and how only the strong survive when it comes to a life riddled with things like crime and drugs. But I say, you gotta be fit to survive not just in the streets, but virtually everywhere and in every facet of life.

We are in the midst of an HIV epidemic in many major cities across the nation. Although we have come a long way in HIV treatment and those who are positive with the virus have the ability to live long lives – poverty and miseducation in the black community are just a few of the factors contributing to the overrepresentation of the virus in the black community. More and more evidence of police officers abusing their power is surfacing – in the form of violence against black bodies caught on cell phone video. More of us are going to college, but even more of us find ourselves in debt and degreeless. The media tends to focus more on stereotypical welfare queens and men carelessly spreading their seeds – and less on black women PhDs and black fathers who go above and beyond for their children. We live in a world where our youth are using rap lyrics to dictate their lives – aspiring to sling on the corner, cop bodies and pop Mollies – instead of taking music simply as entertainment. Our bodies are more likely to be unhealthy, as diabetes, high blood pressure and other lifestyle-based ailments pervade our families and our communities. And our mental health bears the brunt of all these things and more, as our culture often teaches us to minimize our pain and maximize our physical, mental and emotion loads.

It’s time to do something different, ya’ll. Apparently what we’ve been doing as a collective has NOT been working.

It’s time to seriously arm ourselves for war.

The books are our weapons – let’s use them and use them wisely, because the brain is a terrible thing to waste. Let’s stop the whole if you want to hide something from a black person, put it in a book lie we’ve been living. Our families, our communities are our platoons. We are only as strong as our weakest player – with that being said, let’s not let a lack of uplift be our downfall. Our love for ourselves is the best ammunition known to man – our want for better, our interest in education, our investments – not only in our businesses, but also in our health and the health of others. Our elders are our wisest soldiers. Let’s listen to them, because more times than not, many of them have been through the same things we’re struggling with and then some. Let’s let them help us guide our steps.  Our children are our most precious soldiers. We have to protect them and lead them at all costs – with school, with finances, with relationships and everything else under the sun. They’re going to be holding down the front lines in our place in the near future. And finally, our perseverance is our armor – our trauma has trained us for the  trenches and our pain protects us in the line of fire . What hasn’t killed us has only made us stronger – it’s in our blood to stand tall when the going gets tough.

The casualties are adding up. Are you armed for war?