Tragedy always inspires the best art, doesn’t it? Here’s new poetry inspired by the recent events in my country.
the true independence day
My neighbor wished me Happy Juneteenth yesterday.
I felt alive saying it back –
Yeah! Happy Juneteenth!
Now! We can say it without feeling threatened;
without feeling alone or lame.
We can say it minus that chip weighting our shoulders
and absent the lump of shame sitting on our chest.
We can sing out, Happy Juneteenth!
in a new melodic tune.
Like when we wished each other, Merry Christmas!
We can say it loud with joy and release
and uplifting confidence
that if one doesn’t wish it back
that one is one of the sad and sorry lost who must suffer.
Juneteenth, you say? Who ever heard of that holiday?
Mrs. Horton would stare you down
like you don’t know your tongue
from your asshole,
she heard you say that.
I learned of the true independence day of our nation
as a young student of 17 in public school.
Learned truths my programmed parents couldn’t teach
from one of God’s messengers of truth
manifest in the form of a high school teacher.
I found out because I wanted to know;
know why the fucked up shit I saw each day
happened mostly to people who were brown
and mostly not to people who weren’t that color.
And, I wanted to know why.
To really get to the crux of why –
even though my skin is peachy tan cream –
why I’m black too?
What’s that mean anyway?
Really, you don’t know. Do you?
Not till someone who knows shows you too.
Or, you just forget who they told you you were.
Then you too will be able to find the truth.
Only because of desire and pure will to understand.
But, if you don’t wanna know –
or cared not to know –
then you never knew of Juneteenth.
And this is all new.
And you think – How do these folks know just what to do?
On a brand new holiday
that trumps the other one they tried to fake.
Cuz no nation is free while it enslaves its own fundamental roots;
choking truth to hide its own crimes.
Holding back light to wallow in pitiful darkness.
J4 is nothing.
Juneteenth is all!
You never were free till you freed all your sons.
And you cannot be till you see all offspring free.
Until you hold the truth in your heart
you can never really be free to be what you are.
So really, any independence day was of undercover bondage –
a reminder of the lie.
While enslaved mothers and fathers,
sisters and brothers walked with free minds on this land
and you celebrated your own cruel spiritual demise,
without understanding or true purpose defined.
But now! Look at the colors we have given you again!
Oh nation stained in blood and terror,
look at what we have given
as a token of our love and forgiveness.
Juneteenth! All is Juneteenth!
The one and only true day to symbolize
the day you finally took the first step –
to step away from your own chains
and the ones you tried to use to bind me.
This one day we give you –
symbolizing that this nation is finally now and forever
a sponsor and supporter and endorser of the free!
Check out my new poetry collection, Dialogue: Poetic Conversations for sale at Amazon.
Bonus poem from Dialogue: Poetic Conversations!
tattooed heart beloved mind
the very word
no one said I was
onto the most sensitive flesh
of my right arm.
and imbued with the might
of a willow.
I grip my pen
and hold my plate
by virtue of courage
incarnate in those fine bones
and flexing muscles
of my right wrist.
I was never that
and your heart,
beat the blood
of your beloved to sleep
and thumped her awake again.
She knows you
like the back of her shaking hand
and the pep in her eager step.
And you know her
like the drumming of hard core bass
and the diastolic pulse
of your last heartbeat
You couldn’t see my tattoo.
And so, she recorded the buzzing
of the needle
and the vibrations
that came with the carving
of each letter,
each piercing skin prick.
Proof she was alive.
Life will never be the same
now that she knows.
But, I will always remember
it was you.
You, who told me
to get the tattoo
all those years ago
so that I would not forget her.