Baggage On Our Backs

There used to be night watches

and watchers plotting over the attainment of my skin

Should I claim my right to a sprint  

Should I choose to evade slave and gain soul

there’d be some sir

under a streetlamp  

similar to satan

just waiting to drag me back under

There used to be night watches

and watchers

apprehensive of indigenous

waiting on vengeance to hit

like a swift wind

How they must’ve feared karma’s returned pillage

 

Oppressors always guard what’s never meant for them

 

Be it space or your kin

watchers tried to chase a whole race out.

Now their sons are sergeant

who spin us stagnant statue statistics

but we still dancin

you just missed it.

 

Watcher descendents still comfortable

with running races into the ground

that’s cultural clout

I mean genocide

I mean drought

even though our blood still tidal wave spills

over cities

We make the greatest flood

We make drowning look commonplace

 

Sometimes I feel the naked skin of my achilles heel turn slave

while waiting for the red line train

The sinew is bait

I feel the bared teeth of a beast graze me

 

Tunnel becomes

fragmented

underground railroad right before my eyes

and I can’t run from CTA CPD

bloodhounds wired to chase me

 

I often grow guilty from existence as they walk by

 

And then my train arrives

and I realize why the longest line through this city runs red

 

Jesus tells me

he dreamt his heart flew out his chest

through bullet hole

shot by bigot in bulletproof

he seamstress stitches his sanity whole before class

Shrugs this terror off as nightmare

Hopes it won’t happen again

But it always does.

So he trains to run urban black death trap track while he dreams

 

We always ready to run

Run

Run

Run

Run

 

I want to get my boyfriend face paint and swimming lessons

to lessen his chance at drowning in dark destiny

strip him of everything threatening

want to paint him pale

leave him as skeleton

and tell him I love him

while he safely covers chest with turned cheek too

 

I want to get myself a shotgun

cuz this skin is never safe

not even from me

Black girl pain be shrouded

in cloak of invisibility

all dressed up with nowhere to go

our roots be suffocating in a planter

you can see a slave ships belly in my cornrows

My dreams be black magic girl: gone in an instant.

I look like Sandra Bland on any day,

Black girls make drowning look commonplace

with a smile no one sees as a grimace

 

It’s not just

sagging  pants

fat asses and

bent backs

putting strain on our gaits

But the click in my jaw when I say my name

the fear in my throat when I pass police

And the prayers I say before I sleep asking

“may I not weep for another brown body slain?”

It’s the screams I hear when I see the train

the warnings in the wind telling me to stay silent

It’s thinking all we got to do is be polite

be passive

stop trying

die quiet

be dumb

stop crying

man up

have babies

get fucked

sell drugs

talk rough

To play the roles they’ve given us

What a time to live this life.

 

In my past life I wonder if I died the way I will today

by fire

cuz an outspoken black bitch

must be bruja

The ways she’s still standing ain't natural

see how she’s still got a voice

 

Must be strong not to be so crumpled

 

Must be black magic girl to slip out of systematic choke hold

 

They’ll probably burn me at the stake

may my ash evaporate

and brings the longest rain

washing out past watchers for the people’s sake

I hope I’m remembered

open mouth

spit full of rage an afro and my fist raised