Saturday, July 18, 2020

5 Stages of Shango for Mercedes Holford

behind her smile
   is a rage
hand her my axe
  as we ride
adorn her neck
  with the red and white bead
 whisper the wisdom
once more in her ear
    she is my cedar
       planted in kansas
   the white egg shell
      smudged and reborn
  in every heart that knew her
 the consort
of Black Valhalla
my warrior child

and somewhere
  beneath that rona tragedy
    is mother and daughter
no killer found
    who stalks her memory
without knowing
lifted seat
  lifts axe to you
foul and cruel
      lava burn your eyes
   carved grooves in face
your judgment
breathless gasps
     child smiles tattooed inside your eyelids
the city
that fails all you touch
   that takes all you nurtured
and renders it dust
a balloon in the sky
      that flies raven
til it falls like acid
like justice
 on heads unwashed
uncleaned of wicked
we’ll find you
       warrior sister slayer
Shango have mercy!

restored mercedes
to her rightful throne
     fixed her crown
        and makeup
   repainted her smile
she no longer dies
she is again who she was
    laughing in hallways
    dodging homework
    the jump up to goat’d beats
Black girl magic says 
     she’ll live forever
if her sister mirrors are made whole

the nothingness of tomorrow
   of the Black girl in constant suspension
  the SRO who cuffs her soul
        too powerful to be detained
     we lost
  for all our fighting
    and the guns always win
      our cash crop
    must flow i guess
for american greatness
on ventilators
  and a balloon is all we have to remember

but if she has to go
    she should know
 that smile
was all i wanted
       that now we know
  just how hard the heart can rip
  just how easily life can slip
  just what we saw
     hiding behind that smile
and i’ll see you
   in the lightning and thunder
 riding with Shango forever

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Things I Can't Tell My Daughter

When I was Black
I had a tear
That swept
Beneath the skirt
Of the ocean
It lays in rest
With the souls of Black folkx
Who knew
What survival might cost

When Breonna Taylor slept
In dreams of a family
In arms of a lover
In shelter
In alarm
To bullet pounding
Info terror propaganda
Whistle blower PD parties
Black woman lost to the whims
Of a thirsty media demon
Fed with likes and sad faces
And a people too tired and hungry to stand up

When Black men search for birds
Their phones should be fully charged and live camera capable
They should always beware of unknown white women
With god complexes
And should never attempt to correct them in any way
Lest they end up like Christian Cooper
Lest they want the noose

When we don’t mourn
A cop kneels firmly on our neck
And a no-knock
Carries us down the river
To ol’ massuh’s house
Where the sun don’t shine
And the bees don’t buzz
And ain’t no way to know

What it means to be Black

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Ahmaud Arbery

If I were lynched in the streets
My children would avenge me
The moon with her sling 
The star with her bone
And my wife 
With a cauldron
What I mean is
Hands off the black godhood

Because you see
We had trapped a white man
Between two cars
And shot him down
No guns fired
I’d be in a black site jail
Until the klu klux klan
Had their grand jury

Instead I put my head
Between two lips
And wait for corona
To take my six times more likely black self
To sankofa
Sankofa, a Black person’s Valhalla

And if you don’t believe me
Believe that for running
You can lynch a Black man
But we won’t stop running
Not when cops say
Drop your skin or we’ll shoot
Not when doctors claim we don’t feel pain
Not when billboards say we don’t father the children we raised
Not when jobs burn the names off our applications
Not when crack blocks are our stimulus package
Not when American flags stretch our necks to pledging
Not when our children are sold, our mother’s confiscated and our backs stripped for a name
Ahmaud Aubrey
Say his name

Friday, April 10, 2020

Stations Underground: The Greatest Friday

By Tai Amri Spann-Ryan

Yo your laws
Have passed us over
You call us brothers and sisters
But our ancestors were called a scourge
You fell asleep on our needs
Now the reaper comes
But here
Hear my guilt

There was no way to freedom
So we built stations
Seven in number
Live from the underground
Straight from the sewers
Live from the underground
Straight from the sewers
Live from the underground
Straight from the sewers

Station 1
See my street clothes
Meth mouthed
Track marked
Youth excommunicated
Fire and brimstoned through the system
Pastor’s kid
Found family
In non blood
To stay alive and thrive

Station 2
You was my ally
Marched left and right
By my side
But when ICE came knocking
You didn’t know my name

Station 3
If I were to say
There was a priest
Who sells clean souls for a profit
And preys on the young
And a politician
Crying, “Pro-Life!”
For lobbyist payouts
Who’s to say
I wouldn’t get the electric chair
While private prisons get Swiss accounts?

Station 4
I’m purpled
Like a stranglehold
The beating gotten when I don’t follow massuh’s edicts
The beating when I do
The Black girl
8 times more likely suspended than her White counterpart
Jailed in pipeline legislation
Carlos Gregario Hernandez Vasquez
Collapsing in captivity
Queen Candy
In a hotel room

Station 5
Carried Guadalupe
Tattooed on my back

Carried a cradle over the border
Carried a coffin back

A slave sent
To pick my strawberries
No soap
Just bags to carry

No amount of oxy
Can erase the memory of a child
I carry the loss
Of 9th great grandparents
To a southern slaughter

Station 6
In Juarez
There is a femicide
When we think of our own oppression

In St. Louis
All COVID-19 deaths
Were Black

But the news
Won’t show
What’s through the torn veil

Station 7
As usual
Are the ones who see the truth first
That there’s nothing inside
The promises are hollow
The Dream’s infected
Death’s a cycle to life
That when they buried us

They didn’t know we were seeds