The Heaviest Burden

For the nights when our love don’t love us back.

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The heaviest burden

The most urgent concern

Is when tears burn your face from the words of others because 

The worst sounds come from sobs in pillows smothered with covers undercover

Doused in brokenheartedness 

The hurt that our mothers vowed to protect us from

The heaviest burden

When you feel like a burden

unwanted and unappreciated 

Don’t you hate it?

When somebody rather drag you out like last night’s trash just because 

You and your crown are too heavy to lift?

But don’t you hate it even more when

You put your own self in that trash bin?

The heaviest burden

When you feel sorry for yourself and 

You start to tear yourself down just like everyone else did 

As if they really needed help with it

You take in the words and you start to believe 

The alibis and the lies 

Against your spirit 

You can see you falling out of love with yourself so loud and so clear you can hear it

A car crash, a tree fall, a falling apart

Damn, it wasn’t like that from the start

Damn, has an artist ever been more dismissive of her own work

Of her own art?

The shit is taught. And she listened.

The heaviest burden

The rising from the fire

The guilt of a liar that

Only lies to herself 

She needs some help she

Needs some medical attention 

Did I mention that wounds cut the deepest 

From self inflicted

Injury?

Well tell me where to start because

The heaviest burden is me

Somebody tell me where to start because 

The burden is too heavy 

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 Me

unnamed

They say they like

what I wear and

The lips on my lipstick

And the way my hair

wears my head but

It wears on me

The moment my words leave my lips and

I put my foot down and my hands on my hips

It’s too confusing.

And it’s too hard

Be quiet

Be cute

Little black girl

Play

Your

Part

It wears on me

Like when I wear my super skinny jeans

And they say to me

they look so good on you

I say thanks, it’s because I’m running

Running every other day of the week

I’m running

Because it wears on me

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

Still, You’re Loved by Fantasia Alston

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I was praised

For rocking my fro

Applying essential oils

That made my skin glow

I was praised

for dating within

because I couldn’t possibly love myself

If I were into white men

I was praised

For my fulfilling physique

Curves caught the attention of many

Who were reluctant to speak

But she was condemned

Her hair was relaxed

She might’ve been accepted

Had it flown down her back

She was condemned

For dating outside her race

“How could she love the enemy?”

It was a slap in the black man’s face

She was condemned

For being too petite

Lacking the assets of her counterparts

Most were sure she didn’t eat

Even if her self love wasn’t instilled

I loved her so

How can bashing my own

Cause her to grow

Who am I to judge her being

Because of what she wears

Who she chooses to date

Or how she manipulates her hair

To me she’s a queen

A sister I must protect

No need to know her personally

To treat her with the utmost respect

The resiliency in our blackness is otherworldly

The uniqueness is here to stay

Our preferences don’t dim each other’s light

I wish we could all see it that way.


unnamedFantasia Alston is a guest writer for theblackertheberry.org. She is a 22 year old free spirit  and visionary who spends most of her time  writing poetry, reading (preferably mystery books), and doing whatever she can to help better the community, whether it be volunteering at the nearest homeless shelter or picking up any litter found on the solid surface of the Earth. She also enjoys painting whatever comes to mind, cooking, meditating,  and taking long walks to nowhere.  She currently resides in Columbia, SC. She is a writer for #SCHOOLGIRLHUSTLE, an organization that supports and empowers girls and women to stay in school. Learn more about her and her work here. Follow her on instagram here.

Black Blue

Your skin, the perfect shade of

perfect

I like it

when it glistens in the sun too

But I love it

When its that dark black blue hue

but do you love your black blue too?

They called you black

and all the other kids laughed

and made you feel

inferior

but the joke is on them when

our own folk pretend that

their hate is your hate

Because they hate their own skin

To begin with

Your blue black has endured

the many evils of

this world tenfold

And yet and still, it upholds

Soft as cotton, bright as pure gold

not that bright like artificial light

but that dark and natural and brilliant type

like the best night of my life

When we fell in love

The type of night that make you wanna

sleep outside because

Only on the darkest night

Can you see all of the stars and

All of the sky

I want you

And your black blue too

But I need you

To love it

And love it fiercely

As I do.