Young, Black, Gifted & Dead
Life is a Greek tragedy
when you’re black like me.
The menacing quality of
the color of my skin
was birthed while my mother
was still covering me. A
murderous plot to overthrow me
was hatched with the planting
of my father’s seeds. An enemy
always at my back, hunting me.
Death himself stalking me,
haunting me like we’re bitter rivals
fighting for an earthly kingdom.
He developed a taste for the blood
coarsing through me, his final defeat
collecting my lifeless body. After
someone who looks just like me,
black soul, brown body
snatches my life from me.
You thought my mother loved me
till she left a trail, to get to me,
for that damn enemy: Death.
Or some street pharmacist or
crooked ass physician leaves me
with a bullet inside my head while the chorus
sings the tired ass melody,
at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Like somehow his life is worth more than mine
because his so-called struggle includes selling dime
bags and cooked meth to young black men
who look just like my daddy &
very well could be their own. And mothers
who’ve been struggling to breathe
since the day they were born. And they’re
still struggling to be free & trying to
fulfill a need that no street drug could
ever fix. It’s just a fix that’s temporary
& nothing that’s temporary can last.
Seems like I’m trapped
in some warped ass, lame ass cartoon
where I feel like Tom keeps chasing me
except he’s wearing a cop’s costume,
a dirty ass cop trying to eradicate me &
all who look like me. That’s the race you run
when you’re black like me. I have to close
my eyes, like blind justice, to try and be
invisible to the dirty ass cop who wants to
put twelve bullets in me. He’s supposed to be
protecting his beat—the heartbeat of a system
designed to commit mental & emotional murder
of me. He couldn’t believe the real Enemy
of the State was him, not me.
I only wanted to release my seatbelt
so I could finally breathe. I’d been
holding my breath since the red, white, & blue
lights of death began to follow me.
An involuntary memory keeps me from being
able to remain free. That’s how you control me.
The color of my skin has trapped me.
Made me a victim of a reality where I
step into the role you wrote for me. The role
of a lifetime: Young, black, gifted & dead.
Peace & Love,