For those who don’t know: flying the flag upside down is an officially recognized symbol of distress. Read the poem with that in mind. For those who did: no need to call 911 or SWAT or anything, I just used the flag for symbolism this time.
I wrote this quite a long time ago, but I figure now’s a good time to post it because people are thinking about the Fourth of July and all. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s holiday, so I tried to wait a bit, but now’s as good a time as any to go ahead and post this.
You don’t understand, aight?
I am a female-bodied black person
whose “biggest accomplishment”
is her graduation from high school
Forced into a system by society
without the fancy, expensive paper
you don’t listen to me.
I don’t exist.
Land of the free, home of the brave
But I am not free. And I promise you it is NOT because of the word “nigger”
my mother AND father were injured fighting for you
I see it in your
their your eyes, hear it in their your words
Daddy couldn’t lift his baby
and when he did she knew she caused him pain.
“What the hell is she thinking, going to school with all those white people?”
Then there’s the PTSD.
The screams, the blows.
My kind is not fit to run this country.
My kind is not smart.
My mother and the bottle
America, why do you ignore me?
Why is is that when I turn on the tv, I don’t see anyone like me?
Why do I have to be afraid for my future,
with or without this stupid degree that’s supposed to document how smart some other people say I am.
That documents my ability to jump through hoops
They left me at daycare with a babysitter every morning at 6AM.
I knew Mrs. Carol, Miss Lori, the St. John’s staff better than I knew them.
Because they went to serve you.
Why is it that when I walk down the street,
you cross to the other side?
Why do you express surprise at my ability to use the English language?
How did you manage to convince me to mold myself into what you find acceptable?
And why do I have to convince myself that I should?
And why should I?
And And And
American, I appreciate what you’re doing for your citizens, but don’t forget me next time.