Poetry by Ian Powell-Palm Λ Photography by Peter Price
So much to say and so little time
To express these grievances on my mind
Like people with different color skin serving hard time
Over smoking weed in the back seat
For blowing off the stress of the day and lifting up their feet
Who among us hasn’t had hard times to relive?
But It’s still enough to put away a kid for life
Someone with ambitions and dreams, goals already in sight
If I were a little taller and filled the room with my presence
Would every cop and storeowner see me as a menace?
If I were in the park with my friends playing hokey
Would the cops see me as a 21 year old low-key?
Do they even think when they break my body with their bullets?
That I’m only twelve and to fit my jeans I have to pull them?
If I fit a description, matched a depiction
Would I be stopped and frisked like I were the enemy of the American mission?
And what mission is that? To free this country of the burden that is being black?
You see, us folks with privilege don’t like to look at the facts. We’d rather blame others for the way they act.
Saying it’s not everyone’s fault for poverty and the crime, kids their sons age doing hard time. The sublimity of our actions is truly mind wracking. Why can’t the people see those their government is truly attacking?
See, If I were him and he were me the difference would be astonishing. We’re both eighteen, both have a dream, both have a right, but only one of us is white.
So when that officer yells show me your hands is there a part of me that already understands the fact that I’m about to die? Without even saying goodbye? Do I begin to cry? And when my body hits the pavement and my eyes start to close do I think about my mother who I’ll miss the most?
See, we’re not even close to solving the issues of today. People like me don’t want to mind our actions or what we say.
There’s been war in these streets for people of color ever since they were born of this country and of their mothers.
But the fighting will not be televised and the militants will be executed
The voice of the people will be killed and muted.
But you can’t kill these words. You can’t kill this thought. No matter how much pain you deliver you will never find the surrender you sought.
Stab your hate into our love. The Get Down taught me that. Push us up against a wall and we’ll push you right back.
And when the next young man is taken from this life
chains on his wrist
who will speak up? Who will among us will raise their fist?
Americans are so complacent in the fight for justice, we’ll blame it on whoever we can but never on us. Because to acknowledge our sins is to feel their pain and it’s been a while since Americans have wanted to feel anything. Stuck to our i-phones, unrelenting in our views, when we hear the words Black Lives Matter we counter it with Blue.
Because how can the lives taken every day be more important than our own and what we have to say?
We trust the police when we’re not the ones that they’re hurling against the pavement.
We disregard all others, Martin and Malcolm were they even making a statement? Or just complaining?
Since this country began we’ve been selling our children false narratives never focusing on what is imperative
To move on and fix our mistakes. To do whatever it takes.
For every moment our conscious is not stirred that’s another moment our brothers and sisters are murdered. I acknowledge my privilege, the blood on my hands. I’ll be damned if I don’t use this privilege to make a stand.
This thirst for blood is a curse, how many more kids my age have to be taken away from their mothers in a hearse? It hurts knowing that so many would rather stay silent. Watching genocide from the inside and still saying that colored voices should be silent. Maybe they won’t stay silent because they see the white man losing his power. The people who are this nation repealing the new Jim Crow taking it this all back, second, by minute, by hour.
But still to us
Blacks being criminal is subliminal
And when it comes it comes to a sentencing there should never be minimal.
I lost my sister when I was fourteen. What would I do if it was my own Government who’d taken her from me?
We can end this war eventually if we all do our time. We can make right this anguish even though the end isn’t in sight.
So we fight with everything we know. We reap what we sow. I cry for the mothers whose sons were laid low.
Rest in peace Mike, Tamir, Laquan, and all the others taken. We will fight the rest of our lives for you. Our resolve will never again be shaken.