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Greg Serebuoh

  • We Are. Ferguson.

    361 views 4 months ago
    I saw and heard the response to what happened in Ferguson, and I thought on what it all meant, and I felt something in the pit of my stomach, but I didn't know what to say.

    So I made something…

    We Are. Ferguson.

    tears on white paper
    blood on white walls
    boys taken under
    by men who feel small
    boys playing street games
    to know that they can
    in a land where their lives
    are fall leaves on a limb.
    birds speaking languages
    varied in tone
    each granted air
    and a tree of his own
    but black birds in brown trees
    get picked off for words like these
    they are not welcome to BE
    to BE, to BE.
    so we play our street games
    just to know that we ARE,
    in spite of all they say,
    just to know that we ARE,
    despite what they don’t say,
    to KNOW that we ARE,
    even when erased,
    like miscalculations
    or sour notes,
    even when the cords get cut out our throats,
    under light of cruel scrutiny
    or shadow of shame,
    that we ARE,
    we ARE, we ARE.

    tears on white paper
    blood on white walls
    boys taken under
    by men who feel small
    boys playing street games
    to know that they can
    in a land where their lives
    are fall leaves on a limb.
    I peddle my privilege
    the scraps I can find
    to feel safe on the streets
    or at least in my mind: “boy,
    you betta smile right
    boy, you betta shine
    boy, you betta walk
    like you got sense in yo’ mind
    boy, be five times betta
    than them rags runnin’ ’round you
    ’cause three-fifths a ripped rag’ll
    rub scuff off white shoes
    keep yo’ head in dem books
    keep yo’ ass out the way
    keep yo’ dick in ya pants
    keep yo’ hands on display
    keep ya body tight, ya threads right,
    ya hair plain, and ya skin light
    if you can. if you can’t,
    God help you
    to do what you may,
    ’cause ain’t nothin’ you say
    gonna change what they see.”
    no,
    not if they see an enemy.
    I play a role
    in backwards hopes
    that one day, they’ll just see me.
    just see me.
    and I peddle on.

    tears on white paper
    blood on white walls
    boys taken under
    by men who feel small
    boys playing street games
    to know that they can
    in a land where their lives
    are fall leaves on a limb.
    see I always knew.
    so it cuts ever more.
    always knew what they meant
    when they let the words slip
    when they rolled eyes
    at raised voices on trains
    when they smiled wide
    at an “interesting” name
    when they held rough brown hands
    while they bit their pink lips
    same ones that kissed mine
    that I loved more with time
    (I wonder at this)
    when they called me brother
    when they didn’t mean it
    and I didn’t believe it
    and I said that I did.
    yet I AM your brother
    so it cuts ever more.

    tears on white paper
    blood on white walls
    boys taken under
    by men who feel small
    boys playing street games
    to know that they can
    in a land where their lives
    are fall leaves on a limb.
    I tumble through mud
    trying to live what I know
    trying to forgive all the “I’s”
    and “you’s” and “we’s” and
    “they’s”
    the ones that I’ve said,
    the ones that I’ve seen,
    the ones that I’ve been,
    trying to be.
    just to be.
    just to know that we ARE,
    in spite of all we say,
    just to know that we ARE,
    despite what we don’t say,
    to KNOW that we ARE,
    even when erased,
    like miscalculations
    or sour notes,
    even when the cords get cut out our throats,
    under light of cruel scrutiny
    or shadow of shame,
    that we ARE,
    WE ARE, WE ARE.



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