Hampstead School, London, 2020
I’m not supposed to write anything outside of my oppression,
Outside of my blood,
Nothing more than a Eulogy for a Funeral I have already auditioned for,
The melanin in my skin got me the part,
My words are only heard when I make my pain pretty,
When I slap a bow on the trembles in my voice because I am breaking,
Black doesn’t crack but yet you’re shattering our melanin,
Coal is only beautiful when it burns, black is brilliant like that,
Ash is only beautiful when it comes from burnt out fires and my fire is not yet burnt out does that mean I am not beautiful?
Black does not crack but the crack with the crackle of flames that whip bitter cocoa into chocolate,
Lay our bodies at the bottom of fire pits, we’ll be coal for you,
I mean quiet for you,
Why is black only beautiful when it’s dead,
Why do you want our bodies but not our breath?
Want our music but not the message it sends,
Our deaths are only okay when it makes for a good hashtag,
If a black boy is shot in the middle of nowhere and nobody is around to hear the gunshot,
To hear his body hit the ground,
Does it still make a noise?
Is it still heard?
Is it a good enough headline for a movement?
Are you moved yet?
Do you come for our children because chains fit better on smaller wrists, or because they’re better target practise?
What is it about black skin that seems to tempt metal,
From shackles in a plantation to handcuffs in a prison cell, we haven’t abolished slavery,
We are slaves to your privilege,
A slave to our melanin,
Society is our owner,
They say we shouldn’t read,
Write, have our pants above our knees, play anything but basketball,
Never have opinions, never wake up,
Never notice that the people we meet are just to make a guest list for our funerals,
Or the reason for it,
The number 12 has become the devil’s number, they make more room for us in our caskets than our classrooms,
We scream our pain through your silence,
Doesn’t oppression make the loveliest art?