before we lost
everything
our senses
our humanity
our purpose in life
we read books
and shared thoughts
and discussed our differences
we learned to acknowledge
and tolerate
the things that made us
a beautiful mosaic
created by
blessed by
loved by God

the importance of what we are
became the significance of what we could be
and instead of dwelling
on irrelevant details
and differences
in worship
and thought
and love
we had everything
our senses
our humanity
our purpose in life

one day, I hope to believe we
were and are
not irrelevant
beasts like other animals
soon to be extinct

Irrelevant

I take a knee in
protest just as we would in prayer.
But what do you want me to
pray for?
The very thing
that I should be guaranteed,
the very thing
that was promised by birth?
The commonality
of us?
How you are simply
descendent from the
ancestors you share with
the cousins you stole
and sold
and humiliated
and dehumanized
so that you could sell
your soul?
No, I refuse to feel
irrelevent simply
because you are insignificant
in your understanding
of why
my blackness can’t be irrelevant
to society?

Irrelevant

Sometimes I succumb
to the lullaby of Saturday evening
with everything to do
and time to do it
but no desire to move beyond
the few feet of comfort
that being at peace
with no agenda
or alarm clock
but still rising before
eight
and napping by noon
reading Coates and Kendi
and listening to Jill and Anthony
while my mind
makes lists
and sends warnings
of how these lazy moments
will create a very hectic Sunday afternoon
with everything to do
and no time to do
but for now, I succumb
to the laziness
that fives me peace

Succumb

This time is different
unlike the peaceful, pragmatic
vision and
version
brought to you by Martin,
this time will be different.
Do you know how it feels
to be Black in America?
to wake up Black
in a world marked
by racists
like a rabid dog’s piss on a tree?
Now the hoods aren’t
needed
and my second amendment rights
are NOT the same as yours.
I have the right to be
shot down by the very
person sworn to protect
me
because,
I was born black in America.
But, I’m not Martin.
I’m paying attention.

I hear your calls
no longer hidden in the night
no longer fearing decency.
I feel your blows
no longer striking from a distance
no longer fearing humanity.
I know your rage
no longer hindering your words
no longer taming your hate.
But, I’m not Martin.

I will answer your calls
with words and battle cries of my own.
I will take your blows
as long as mine strike you hardest
and last.
I am the rage
no longer hidden by the false
security society created.
I am the monster your daddy told you to fear
the dually-educated
fervently vocal
and unabashedly proud
Black woman threaded so intricately
into the pattern of
your society
that to pull my string
would unravel this world.
The edges are frayed because
I’m not Martin.
Know that hate you feel
made me who I am
at this very moment.

Now,
let me return the favor.

Say bye to Martin as you welcome
Stokely,
Fred,
Marcus,
Malcolm,
and Angela.

This time, we will either finish
or there will be no peace.

Deny
Focused

I once wanted you close enough
to touch
close enough to intertwine myself
and your heart
and our love

but now I overwhelm myself with
tasks and responsibilities
typical garden variety protective gear,
mimicking nature like
thorns on a honey locust

Still I blossom as needed
so that others can admire the beauty
but not get too close
what beauty?
all I see are thorns
that grow out of a mutual
disrespect
beauty?
tell me more and see
how insecurity is fertile

Our distance comforts me
the silence and unspoken disdain
flows like a breeze through bare branches
and fells the leaves
and caresses the thorns

It is easy to say the things
that we want to feel
a closeness that hopefully sheds
away
the fear,
the protective gear
the thorns on a honey locust tree

Thorny

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day,
then we must be royalty
the living and dining
worthy of immortalizing

forget the eggs, grits, biscuits and bacon
(for now)
don’t overindulge me
when knowing exactly
what I want
has always gotten you
what you want
a quick break
cinnamon bread toasted with just enough
heat to give rhythm to the skin
cream cheese warmed and spread
in ripples from end to end
and honey riding the waves in
slow flows that settle
into delicious pools
and we don’t break
fast
we eat
not caring
what falls
what spills
what smears
because we anticipate
the pleasure
of seconds

Flavorful

Words are disharmonious
to the tune of a flat
out
lie
your talent for becoming
that one thing
Masters Guild
Maestro with a penchant
the beautiful misery
each word sounding more untruthful
than the next
but we don’t say
that
do we?

Who is to say
what to believe
when the truth is a hostage
the truth determined by the
master teller of all
lies

Who is to say
what to believe
when every word
weighs less
means less
until eventually
there is no voice
and then
who is to say
the truth

Penchant

Frank Solanki

If you want to be a hero well just follow me

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