art by Sage Smith 

art by Sage Smith 

Backpacks

When black boys are born

We mothers kiss their faces

Twirl our fingers in their curls

Put them in carriers on our chest

Show them to the world

Our tiny black princes

And when they start school

As early as 3

We mothers

Place huge back packs on their backs

And we slowly fill them with bricks

Etched with tools

Tattooed with truths

Hoping to save them

Don't talk back

Don't get angry

Say yes ma'am

Say no sir

Don't fight

Even if they hit you first

Especially if they are white

Do your best

Better than best

Be still

Worker harder

BRICK

they get a little older

And we add more

Keep your hands out of your pockets

Don't look them in the eye

Don't challenge

Don't put your manhood before your life

Just get home safe

Don't walk alone

Don't walk with too many boys

Don't walk towards police

Don't walk away from police

Don't buy candy or ice tea

Don't put your hood up

I'll drive you

I'll pick you up

You can't be free

Don't go wandering

Come home to me

BRICK

They get a little older

And we add more

Understand you are a threat

Standing still

Breathing

Your degrees are not a shield

Your job is not a shield

Your salary makes you a target

Your car makes you a target

Your nice house in a nice neighborhood

Makes you a target

Don't put your ego before your safety

Don't talk back

Don't look them in the eye

Get home to your wife

Your son

BRICK

They weigh them down.

This knowing

Of having to carry the load

Of their blackness

the world hasn't changed

The straps just dig deeper into their skin

Their backs ache

But their souls don't break

Our beautiful black men

When you say to me

All lives matter

I simply ask

Will your son die with the world on his back

Mine will


And The Light Dims 

 

Little girls are light

The moment we know

Our wombs house them

They become our glow

We wrap them

in pink blankets

brown skin

radiating love

And soon

When the words come

So do the questions

Can I have this doll

The one with the yellow hair

And blue eyes

She's beautiful

Can I be beautiful

Can my pony tail hang down my back

Why can't I have hair like her

And the light dims

And soon

When the understanding comes

the self hate flutters in

Like a colonial moth

On wings of oppression

At school there are no books with me

With my skin

My nose

My hair

I'm not pretty

And the light dims

And soon

womanhood

Dances around their youth

Hand outstretched

Inviting them to sway

Dancing to melodies

That sound like independence

The anger comes

He accused me of cheating

Me

I've never had an average under a 98

He accused me

In front of the class

The entire class

He says he only dates

White girls

Light girls

They asked if my hair is real

If they could touch it

They did

I didn't say they could

They called me ghetto

They called me nigger

Why did that man just call my mother

Girl

And the light dims

And we mothers weep

into our pillows

In the Shower

In the car

Tears we know they will shed too

Because the world hasn't changed

Behind our desks

Solitary and alone

The only woman

The only brown

The only other

And we are asked to

Educate

Explain

Be the voice of our people

Why do you people

Say

Do

Act

Can you explain rap

What's a chitterling

Work place Mammies

Wet nurses

breasts filled

With black trauma

Suckling ignorance

Promotions passing us by

Like tides that never reach our shores

And our supposed 70 cents on the dollar

Is undoubtedly less

In our black checks

But we can't prove it

And our light Dims

we balance our love

On titanium backs

With feet cemented in

"This won't be my daughter's life"

We turn ourselves

Inside out

No sacrifice too great

To help them spread wings

Not weighed down by their blackness

But fueled by it

But their feet sometimes are tethered to

An earth filled with welfare queen lies

Because brown girls can't fly

too high

Can't soar above

Yellow hair

If they do

They might swing from an imaginary

Noose

Too short for their 6 foot body

And die for not signaling a lane change

when you say

All lives matter

I ask

Will your daughter be sexualized

Before she bleeds

Will her brilliance always be doubted

Will she always be marginalized

Race and sex intersecting like knife in flesh

Will your 5 year old

Whisper in your ear

While wrapped in your loving arms

"Raquel says I'm too dark to be pretty"

Will your daughter hate her own skin

Mine have

Black girls matter too

 

 art by Sage Smith 

art by Sage Smith 


 art by David Anthony Geary 

art by David Anthony Geary 

Cat caller: what dat mouth do

Me: talk shit 

Cat caller: what dat P***y taste like ?

 

...My p***y tastes like justice 

Like revolution rolled into 

cinnamon dipped 

Honey mango coated sweetness 

To help you swallow bitter black hate 

My p***y tastes like 

power 

purpose 

and peace 

My p***y tastes like 

knowledge 

and passion 

Universe flavored 

Seasoned with star dust 

My p***y tastes like infinity 

She is alpha and omega 

The beginning and the end 

My p***y tastes like Genesis 

It leads 

It rules 

Even her whispers are shouts 

My p***y tastes like 

command

Inspiration and integrity

A compass for more than your phallus

My p***y directs your soul 

My p***y tastes like

queendom come

When I cum

My reign 

makes it rain

Hot sweet sticky

My p***y tastes better

than mediocre men's tears 

My p***y tastes like

Matriarchal militias

Mutating by millions 

Marching heavy on your tongue 

My p***y tastes like justice