Flag

I voted for fear

of who this nation is
and has been

The kumbaya of all lives

does not equal freedom
does not equal justice
does not defund the system
functioning as a de factor spine
for the privileged

I voted out of necessity

because this country
has never lived up to its foundation

still handling colored cloth with more care
than colored children

Colored children,
living flags of American freedom,
still at half mast

~Rahk.

#black-art-matters, #equality, #human-rights, #patriot, #politics, #vote, #voter-suppression

Hard Conversations in American Homes

1. It’s ashamed these businesses just reopened
And now they have to pay for damages

Yeah, Philip said his shop looks like a skull, all shadows and caverns.

And daddy always told us that floor-to-ceiling windows catch the eye…

I told Philip he should have chosen that other location…

2. Lord, have mercy! Why is this still happening?

I don’t know, bae, but it’s got to stop, it’s got to stop.

But how can it when this country is rich with graves,
smoothie shops as tomb stones?

3. I did not march with a million men for this.

I did not withstand hosed tsunamis for this.

I do not carry the teeth marks of Officer K9 for this to still be America.

4. What are they protesting? People die all the time.

But at the knee of police? But unarmed?

Well yeah, sure. They can’t all be black.

And are any of them white?

Who knows? But those police officers certainly aren’t black.

I suppose you’re right, but what can we do?

Yeah…this is America.

Yeah, this is America.

#america, #black-art-matters, #black-lives-matter, #equality, #hard-conversations, #history, #hope, #human-rights

An Awkward Pause (excerpt from “Hard Conversations: Love Poems”)

The parts of self we smother

To keep silent

So that we are not falsely accused

Of over-reaction

So that we are not falsely accused

Of being

“Soft”

So that we are not falsely accused

Of (un)professionalism

Of protest

So that we are not falsely accused

Of inserting an “I” where “I” does not belong

As if I, as if we, don’t belong in front of feelings

As if I, as if we, don’t feel

The phantom knee on my, on our, necks

The parts of self that hold tight to our chest

That clench almost painfully behind closed lips

The parts that resent us for pressing the pillow exactly where other parts asked the pillow to be pressed

The parts that never run out of breath, that don’t submit to the attempt to suppress, even when breath falters

The parts that care nothing of status quo and take sustenance from passive resistance

The parts that cry out, that raise up, that stand proud, that hold firm

The parts that find air to breathe despite the knee

Those parts understand

They understand that sytemic silence is not survival

But acceptance

~Rahk.

#america, #art-therapy, #black-art-matters, #black-lives-matter, #black-stories, #equality, #gender-norms, #hard-conversations, #human-rights, #masculinity, #poem, #politics, #raw

English 301 in Retrospect

They taught me that poems shakespeare into sonnets.
Piercing the present so William keeps living on
’cause we study his writing as if no other
art has been written. Shakespeare is dead but they still
won’t kill him. Or let him die. Worshipping his words,
they grant him eternal life. The skin of his voice,
a representation of White. He lives so free
on American soil. Immigrants in our art.
No wall was ever proposed for dead citizens
smuggled into the nation by the well-to-do.
I’m reforming the sonnet. Shakespeare needs rest, too.
He speaks no more. Writes even less ’bout much ado.
Silencing dead voices- my “taming of the shrew”.
Silencing dead voices- my “taming of the shrew”.

#black-lives-matter, #poem, #poetry, #sonnet

Some don’t belong on public domains

Some thoughts thrive on discretion

Some thoughts slip by undetected

Some thoughts don’t care to know their own strength

While others struggle to breathe past the knee

And still certain knees apply more pressure

For their thoughts never drift to consequence

For their privilege undermines certain life

For their privilege denies a certain right

For their privilege relies on the presumed purity of white

Some thoughts claim to not see color, preferring selective sight

~Rahk

#black-art-matters, #black-lives-matter, #poem, #poetry, #raw, #stop-killing-us, #thoughts

The Blood of Babel (Revised)

If we discarded egos
as quickly as we discard people
We might be able to build that tower to God

Inaugurate this address
This petition of just cause
This foremost amendment
that predates the deadbeat dads
who hated us as much
as they lusted after our
mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s curves

Still, we rise above poverty lines
police stations and prison cells
and projects and culdesacs
and estates and dorms
and factories and sawmills
and diners and churches

We faithfully await more than a night
of living slaves, leaving severed hands
in their shackles.
You will know that a reckoning is afoot.
And there will be no hooves pounding
Wall Street warning of invasion
We are already here

We Malcolms and Kendricks
We Jasons and Patrisses
and Alicias and Opals

We Derays and Olivias and
Kamalas and Sandras and Shondas
and Baracks and W.E.B.s

We will never be moved
and our discarded egos
will staircase our tower to God.
Not our brown bullet-laden bodies
Not our blood striping the American flag
We are children of Babel.
We will no longer let deceitful tongues divide us,
Rather we unite with forehead kisses
Kisses lacking the viscous spit of betrayal
We will be redeemed as we weep in the clay
that formed us, we will construct visions
rather than undervalued dreams
Our name is America for we have been,
and will always be, the brave.

~Rahk

#america, #babel, #black-lives-matter, #egos, #grief, #history, #poem, #poetry, #spoken-words

To The Karens

It’s like your family stood
Just a few feet away
Camera rolling
As your neighbor smirked
When his foot cracked
Benji’s ribs

It’s like you filmed your neighbor
drawing his gun
as you scream for him to “Stop!”
Crying, “Don’t do it, sir, don’t do it!”
Benji’s a good dog!”

It’s like your neighbor
Placed his knee on Benji’s neck
Smirking all the while
As the breath left Benji’s body

It’s like you pressed charges
and your neighbor’s sentence was a paid vacation
It’s like you pressed charges
and his punishment was a charity raised
It’s like you protested outside his door
And the president sent the military to his aid
It’s like your Benji, your dog, wasn’t family

But it’s not like that at all if that neighbor is Black
And you call 911 to complain about the laughter and music
Blessing your neighborhood at 6pm
Rather than letting it slide
Like your neighbor did for your family BBQ just last week

And after the call you carry on
Until the gunshots sound
And you peak through the blinds
Blue lights flashing
And you see your neighbors son on the ground
Legal bullets in his chest
Because he startled the officer
Dispatch sent at your request

~Rahk

#america, #art-therapy, #black-lives-matter, #black-stories, #hard-conversations, #mourning, #poem, #stop-killing-us

Closed Letter to Racists

Because you are human, I greet you.

But because you are racist, I do not greet you dearly.

Because you are racist, I cannot appeal to your sense of morality.

You have spat upon the flag of freedom. You have denied the pursuit of happiness. You are no patriot.

Having tainted history, both past and living, with the bile of your existence in a world that was never your own.

You do not seek to reconcile. You do not seek to understand. You hold on to the hoods that hide you from yourself.

You are no godsend. You are not divine. But you are a spook, preferring to possess people rather than truth.

Oh racist, no patriot holds you dear. But how can we when you are ashamed to show your confederate face?

Remove your hood.

What do you have to fear, don’t you claim a god is on your side? Don’t you have righteousness burning crosses inside you? Remove your hood.

A born American would.

#art-therapy, #black-lives-matter, #christianity, #hard-conversations, #history, #hope, #literature, #poem, #poetry, #stop-killing-us

And Then Trump “Suggested” Military and Stronger Police Action Against Protesters

You try to protect yourself. You play it smart. You listen, 5 years old again, to mama as she explains what to do if someone hits you first. You listen, 5 years old again, as she reminds you, for the hundredth time to ask permission before sudden movement. You wonder why it matters. Until you are stopped. Until memories of white hands hovering nervously near official firearm looms over your shoulder. You dodge Instagram. You dodge the Facebook stories of raging activists. You dodge the hashtags. You watch reruns of Insecure. You talk to God, tentatively, trying not to question too much, but God knows the questions quicken your heart. So you check on family, you check on friends. You click off of the Sensitive Content Ahead warning just in time. You try to release the anxiety in a tweet, there’s only so many characters to containt your neurosis. You log off for the sixteenth time, stepping gracefully onto front porch unaccosted. You embrace the bird song as you stand, distantly staring into a cloud-filled blue sky. You sit down. It hits you. You’re Black in America. You’re Black in your home, in your yard. You’re Black on and off social media. The tears fall. They still do not understand. You still have to explain. You still pray. You still worry. You still wonder if you’re next.

#art-therapy, #black-lives-matter, #grief, #raw

Our Screams Have Not Been Loud Enough for Centuries

#black-lives-matter, #raw, #spoken-words, #stop-killing-us

Grandpa, Does This Mean Civil War? (Possible Addition to “Hard Conversations”)

I see stained glass families

Smashed to the ground by presidential decree

Then separated shard by shard

Shredding the American flag

I see impatient rivers of blood
Wandering wildly from brown rainbows
Gunned down in neighboring homes

I don’t see no whips
I don’t see no rope
I don’t see no canines
Just soldiers cradling rifles
In inner city malls like land mines

And I see civilians teargassed
In social media posts,
Not yet riddled with bullets
But uniformed handprints on brown throats
Live recordings of homicide notes
Claiming no foul play exists

The Whites Only signs
Camouflage as red lines
Around neighboring hoods
Brown faces appear as viable goods
And we’re still marching
for colored lives
Still deemed uncivil and disobedient

I see war cries against voter suppression
I gape at documentaries by white people
Discussing their privilege

But still
I see people snatched from the front lines
I see obituaries for innocent women and men
I see Jim Crow puppeteering all the party lines
I see warnings of white hoods again
And new Columbines
And the Charleston 9
And the Pulse of 49

I don’t see no whips
I don’t see no ropes
But I see presidential tweets
Threatening military force against black lives

In 2020, the most malevolent mobs
masquerade as ardent allies

#art-therapy, #black-lives-matter, #hard-conversations, #poem, #poetry, #stop-killing-us

Right

For Botham Jean and Atatiana Jefferson

What can I write
That can be a rainbow
On the darkest night?

(It has been written)

Love
your neighbor
as you love
yourself

To obey the law
do our neighbors
have to look like us
To comprehend love?

(It has been written)

Love The Lord,your God,
with all you are

Who am I, Lord?
I Am Whom You Say I Am.

Am I Saved or am I Damned?

I was born
with this skin–

But I do have sandals
to remove from clean feet

(Where is Your Land?)

Where I stand has to be Your Soil–
I have not moved.
I have not moved.

Are men mountains
Refined by faith?

Are men soft bodies
That minds can shape?
Are women?

Are we all hard rock?
Are we all heavy?
Do we all dream of sky?
Do we all cherish our feet?

To love your neighbor
You must love yourself

(It has been written)

Love your neighbor
As you love yourself
And then you are loved
And then so am I
And then so are we

(It has been written)

Love ourselves
And we love our neighbors
Despite mistakes
Despite bank accounts
Despite gender
Despite weight
Despite religion
Despite differences
Despite choices

Are we enemies
to our reflections?
Are we foes
to our knowledge of good?
Do we aim guns
at ourselves
In our own homes?
In our neighbors homes?
(This can’t be right.)

We need rainbows
to smile their colored light
even in our homes.
Even in our neighbor’s homes
so that we all may walk
in peace
on the street,
so that we all may sit
in peace
in loving homes
God, no more floods.
God, please, no more floods.

Show us the rainbow
On our darkest night.
This isn’t…
This isn’t…
This isn’t right.
(What can we…
What can we write…)