30 DAYS OF JAYE: BECAUSE I AM BLACK TODAY

Note: This poem is dedicated to Alexis Templeton, Ashley Yates and Brittany Ferrell. Thank you dearest ones. The phrase attributed to Alexis here is what she used to tweet during the first days of action after the murder of Michael Brown, Jr. In Ferguson, MO. She would literally tweet: I hope they don’t kill you because you Black today.

“Black women take care of Black women.” – Ashley Yates

I performed this piece on The Writers’ Block Podcast on April 3, 2021 during the SEND FOR A POET SEGMENT. The show is called The I In You Series: The Five I’s Of Representation: Imagine. Click here to listen. Thank you.

“I hope they don’t kill you because you’re black today.”

that’s what Alexis said,

with her hands above her head.

as there were gas canisters flying at her head,

and her hands where they could see them ,

because to be without such visibility,

with a brick would render her defenseless,

from some alien to see without apology

that was the establishment has

planned has planned for

you, them, me and us, is a stark contrast

with the reality by which

it means to be Black in these United States.

Pray for those who stand in the street,

who stand in the gap for this new type of

street ministry:

this gospel that is unapologetic,

that reminds us that our Christ

who was tried as a criminal,

made bloody and bowed

because He, too, was about

His father;’s business and the

freedom and its protection of His people.

Yet, because of his skin,

he is remembered as one with

a lighter tone

because truth is often dark, and shows up on skin.

Yet-

because of the trials and tribulation set before him,

endured the cross

but you have to understand

that because He can,

so we shall!

We shall too and do in power

only to be resurrected when time is come,

our time is now !

The time has come to type up the bill

which has no come due,

We are the seeds of the Son,

which had the light of fathers

Malcolm, Martin and James

whom we have all seen,

whom met us at the mountaintop

because they too have seen the Promised Land!

From this place of promise,

from this place of elevation,

from this new place,

this new destiny we watched,

as this new nation is born through

this coldness that has been stifled

from the light that love can only bring–

only to only to be ricocheted back

after suffering violent

through hate and fear

and the fear mongering and the criminalization

of what I cannot control!

In the in the nightmares at

this black skin that continues to influence,

seeing that the most dangerous place to be

Black like me

is to be in the head of White people

Afraid of that the lie

they imbibe, by which they use

blood to justify

revealing they were never

superior, never first

–only using their worst

to steal the greatness from us.

“I hope they don’t kill you ’cause you black today.”

That’s what Alexis said, with her hands above her head–

And now? Today? They won’t.

This poem will be a part of the collection: SEND FOR A POET: Poems for Love, Godliness and Revolution (August 2021, Divinity Publishing)