Awaken My Love

Every morning when my feet hit the floor

they begin their day as if they have never

done this before. Walk. Put one foot

in front of the other. Navigate the

intricate patterns of life; a life bursting

with questions that seem to have no

valid answers, except the ones I invent

for myself in order to make sense

out of chaos.

 

On the streets of Compton, where I grew up,

brothers are killing brothers at a time when

genocide runs wild in the streets of Africa

by those who hate the color of their skin,

or because of hatred between different tribes;

differences instigated by the Belgian King Leopold,

for the sole purpose of divide, conquer,

steal their resources.

 

At home in America, you, my Black fathers,

brothers and sons, divide yourselves, one gang

against another, nailing the strength of your backs

to prison walls instead of community walls, or the

walls of your own homes. You pound your fists

and mouths into the flesh of your women

instead of cradling them in your arms; creating yet,

another war… husbands against wives.

 

Your bodies have become havens for drugs and

alcohol; your hands grab guns that kill fathers,

brothers and sons, instead of using your hands to

help one another rise above old wounds–wounds

that go back to the beginning of time–wounds

that need to be remembered in order for you to see

who is the real enemy.

 

But I know I am talking to the wind.

You are not listening.

You cannot hear me

through your fear, hatred and anger.

You cannot smell true freedom when your nostrils

are clogged by the constant stench of urine

as gangs claim territory to sections of real estate

they don’t even own.

 

Now that would be something–for you

to tell me that I am trespassing on your

turf because you hold the deed to that

fence, that section of the freeway,

that store,

that corner,

that park bench,

that lunch table,

that taco stand.

But the only things you have to offer me are your

testicles, guns, and spray cans

to mark territory in the ways of the ancients

who lifted their legs against trees.

 

I wonder if you see who is the real

enemy, as you prove your manhood by

committing self-genocide

dealing drugs

disrespecting your women

abandoning your children

dropping out of school, or worse,

staying in school, but refusing to learn

hanging out

hanging out

doing as the white man has taught

you to do since slavery.

 

And now, you embrace this lifestyle

as if you thought of it yourself.

Don’t you get the connection?

Remember your history.

Don’t you get that you are exactly

where he wants you to be, proving,

once again, that to him, you are inferior?

 

I weep for you every night.

I hold your face in the palms of my hands,

whisper words of love and encouragement

against your trembling lips.

But my whispers are lost on the wind.

I offer my breasts and my lap

as a place for you to rest your head

at the end of another days struggle

to cross over the invisible scratch line.

But you turn away and tell me

I don’t understand

what it takes to be a man.

 

Maybe I don’t.

But I do know how it feels

to be a woman in love,

watching you self-destruct

as bombs fall into your opened arms

and you, asleep at the wheel, screaming

through crusted eyelids,

consider such severity

to be a condition

for happiness.

 




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