Ubumuntu (Humanity)

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“And you know now, if you did not before, that the police departments of your country have been endowed with the authority to destory your body. It does not matter if the destruction is the result of an unfortunate overreaction. It does not matter if it originates in a misunderstanding. It does not matter if the destruction springs from a foolish policy. Sell cigarettes without the proper authority and your body can be destroyed. Resent the people trying to entrap your body and it can be destroyed. Turn into a dark stairwell and your body can be destroyed. The destroyers will rarely be heald accountable. Mostly they will receive pensions. And destruction is merely the superlative form of a dominion whose perogatives include friskings, detainings, beatings, and humiliations. All of this is common to black people. And all of this is old for black people. No one is held responsible.” (Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me)

 Warsaw

Dear Mr. President,

How does it feel to

Discuss war with your allies

While war is waged

On black bodies at home

 

Dear Mr. President,

How does it feel to address your own people

Tired from mourning and

Exhausted from fear

In Warsaw

In Baton Rouge

In Minnesota

 

Dear Mr. President,

How does it feel when

A report comes across your desk

Department of Justice

90% of all brutality

Waged against black bodies

Like your body

 

Dear Mr. President,

How does it feel to know

That one-third of young black males

You were once a young black male-

One third behind bars or

In modern-day chains

Robbed of the franchise

Never again to cast a vote

For you or any other-

 

Dear Mr. President,

Do you ache with your country

At the indifference of some contrast

Trauma of others

Do you ache at the apathy

The routinized violence

An unbroken chain

Of racialized terror

From Warsaw

To Baton Rouge

To Minnesota

To Charleston

To Baltimore

To Staten Island

To Ferguson

To Florida

To Charlottesville

From Warsaw.

 

 

30 Dollar Visitor

I’m a guest in your country and you

Offer the best seat

Teach your children to

Embrace me

Labor in your third language

So that I

Understand

Show me your thousand hills

Thank me for my presence

For merely existing

Allow my blue eyes contempt

Hidden from your brown ones

Hegemonic ignorance

My superiority unchallenged

30 dollar visitor

I’m a guest in your country

Neocolonial legacy

Indoctrination convinces

My light skin is

Beautiful

Pure in absence of

Pigment

I’m a guest in your country

30-dollar visitor

It’s time to go home.

 

You’re a guest in my country and

I shift in my bus seat

Teach my children to

Fear you

Demand you speak my language

Better than I

Do everything to keep you out

Your presence is tenuous

Punished for existing

We can’t exist together I must blind myself

To your existence

Superiority unchallenged

As I avert my eyes

Conspicuous visitor

You’re a guest in my country

And I make sure you know it

Transatlantic legacy

Centuries, insitituionalized brutality

Effortlessly transferred

Onto your body

Because your pigment is

The wrong pigment

Project my darkness

Onto your skin

Socially constructed

Conspicuous visitor

Why don’t you just

Go home.

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