We Can’t Sleep

Photo by Hashtag Melvin on Pexels.com

First off, this is dedicated to the life and legacy of Breonna Taylor. Secondly, it is a call for Black folk who been sleeping to wake up.

we can’t sleep because 

she can’t sleep 

eyes like brown

skin like me

she was resting her wearied body and 

her wearied soul

so tired 

a special tired we’ve all come to know 

after work, faces masked metaphorically too and questions asked 

facing age old tests designed for us not to pass 

a day in the life of being Black

she was tired

we’re all tired at the end of the day 

she lay in her bed she rested her head in

the comfort of her own home 

because home is all we got these days we’ve all come to know 

her last night at home she bled from her bed 

not in sleep but in death she 

was sleeping while they were knocking

down her door

guns blazing in the middle of the night 

in the middle of the dark 

it’s amazing that folks who look like me are saying that it’s her fault 

eyes like brown 

skin like me 

she was sleeping

and you been sleeping too

but your sleep ?

damn, your sleep really is a crime 

blaming her for the people she knew

blaming her for the streets and the crew

blaming her for something she had nothing to do

with

drug dealers and the wheelers and the dealers

people we know, people we love

even when we don’t agree with what they done done 

maybe she loved one, maybe she knew many

I don’t really care because 

she should still be here and the cops still shouldn’t have been there 

in the middle of the night 

a slaughtered queen, a snuffed out life

you would know it ain’t right 

if only you knew yourself

if only you knew

but you don’t because 

you been sleep 

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

Mandingo

mandingoedit

Inspired by my frustration with the viral exploitation of black bodies online at the hands of black folk themselves

The fists go up
Two black boys to prove their manhood and give the crowd a show
The show of their lives, for its the only life they know

He think he hard, he think he hard
two’s too many when there’s only room for one
bloodshed paints the sky, the battle has begun

And the phones go up and the phones go record
The sights and sounds of the bones crushing, people cheering
His precious life and his precious death nearing

Back to the present, blast from the past
Yesterday’s battle, same old thing though
Same black people though, same fighters Mandingo

But do we know?
Slaves owners made us fight, brother on brother
our bloodshed, our deaths for the entertainment of another?

My brother, my brother
Put your fists down, sit down and listen
Stop killing each other with your fists and your Pistons

Living the slaveowner’s dream while he’s sleep 6 feet under
Wake yourself up, wake up your mind
From a slumber that should have ended well before 1865

My people, my people
Put the phones away
We can’t afford to entertain the masses with enslaved minds another day

Mandingo
Two black boys to prove their manhood and give the crowd a show
The show of their lives, for its the only life they know

Mandingo