Troubled Past

They beat my body. Tore it up like rabid dogs. Their wide palms crumbled then crashed against the wide nose on my face. Boots tripped along my ribs in time. This aint nothin’ new. It happened in camps and cotton fields. Today they march on us in classrooms and on street corners any given morn. I cried out for my mama, for help, for God to come and ease my pain. But I deserved this ’cause they said I ain’t look right. I looked at her, looked angry, looked down, looked guilty. I shouldn’t have looked at all. Now my body is spread across the sidewalk.

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A Resolution

For the boss who called me a goddamn coward and chuckled as her words split me, for the teacher who called me useless, eyes hot and mean, when I did not follow her instructions to a T. For the countless white men who broke into me with that word, and for the men, women, boys, and girls who pushed me down ’cause my chocolate skin, ’cause pride, ’cause of the day of the week. For the guy friend who called me lazy and lazy and lazy one mo’gin. For the lovers who questioned my worth. For the girl friend who called me out my name always for the heck of it. For those who lied to dampen the power of my truth and told me that I wasn’t, couldn’t and never would be, I resolve this for you –

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Fly.

A woman from Haiti braided my hair the other day. Her strong cocoa brown fingers locked my hairs together in a tight embrace, while she hummed and sang. I closed my eyes and wondered about far off spaces, places beautiful and lit by the sun. Then she crocheted in caramel-colored twists, luxurious ropes trailing down my face.

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Another black man is dead.

Another black man is dead. My fingers are poised to write something. Anything. People need to hear. People need to know. But I can’t type. My hands are shaking and my head hurts. I have to leave my office to get some air.

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