Digital Delinquency

“Lets watch some commercials,”
she said, “to show how overwhelming
social justice is.” So we followed
the next link in the sidebar,
searching “commercials featuring
black people.”
I wish we hadn’t hit enter
hadn’t hit that triangular play button
and sat back in horror
as it streamed forward
the most obscene cartoon I have ever seen
in Lazy Town, those men of color
caricatures like primates
was it the derogative that shaped the animation
or the comic that coined the word
and my hand covered my mouth
my muscles trembling, heart beating in time
how many children had watched this?

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Repentance

I want you to be angry
but your anger scares me
You are not overly sensitive
but I have been sensitized
to ideas that aren’t there
to violence and black men’s arms
and ripped muscles strangling
the air from white girls’ lungs
overpowered and taken by the dark
I want to be angry
that I can write these words
without thinking
that I can spew prejudice
from my lips
with as little effort as breathing
I want to be angry that your dark skin
reminds me of that playground bully
who wouldn’t let me go down the slide
when I was six or seven
because then he wasn’t just a child
like I was just a child
he was a little black boy
and he was mean to me
And it’s easy to be angry
at you
because the TV tells me it’s okay
because anger begets anger
and if you’re already on fire
then I can douse you in flames
But I’d rather be angry at me
that I hold these strings together
when I want the tapestry to unravel
that I hold onto these scars
when I want my wounds to heal
because I want to be sensitive
but not desensitized
so I suffer by your side
for all the harms I have inflicted
for all the lives I have ended
for all the people I haven’t seen
for all the voices I haven’t heard
for all the hands I refused to hold

Defining Lines

Two points define a line
like lines define movies
“You had me at hello”
or maybe, baby
nobody puts you in a corner
and a corner, perfectly shaped
is sharper than words
and words, perfectly forged
are sharper than swords
and you stabbed me, baby
with a pen to the aorta
and thick, black ink poured out
formed a puddle in my hands
and two hands define a body
define a man, because actions
speak louder than words
and words spin with angles
and angles make corners
and two corners, perfectly shaped
form a line, and one line
is all you remember.