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 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
disrespecting your women
abandoning your children
dropping out of school, or worse,
staying in school, but refusing to learn
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