dear black people

dear black people…

remember this

once….you were royal

kings and queens with rivers at your feet instead of sewers

precious stones about your wrists instead of cuffs

once we were kings

dear black men

remember this

you are strong

and you are worthy

you are worthy of everything

and you are worth something

and someone, somewhere, has hopes for you

believes in you

loves you

when i look at you

i see

miles and miles of savannah

and your skin shining against the dust

i see your mind and your spirit

i see your neck tall and strong

i see you ruling

remember this

dear black women

before they made your body into the machinery

of a system that would see you dead

your womb was blessed at birth

for you in sweat pushed out this nation

this earth

when i look at you

i see

straight shoulders and a back like board

i see villages around you and grass for miles

i see

waters flowing around your feet

tides bending to your will

i see tribal meeting and you speaking

your power is equal to all

i see you

remember this

before you were slaves

packed like chattel

in the belly of the ship that would become the beast that eats your children

fingers around their necks digesting them from birth

making them doubt their human-ness

before you were auctioned

fingers in your mouth

hands about your breasts

assessing your ‘worth’

you were royal

black people

do not let your more recent history define you

even as it continues to consume you

a maze you swallow with your first breath

and travel for the rest of your life

with no exit in sight

in the rain

at night

even as you are stuck here

and struck down at every turn


before this

before That

you were royal

remember your history

but remember all of it

all the way back to the beginning

before bullets pierced your wattle and daub huts

and ivory hunters stole your daughters from the bus on the way from school

before your name was an indictment

and your skin proof of guilt

before these things

swim in your bloodlines

through the needle point poison

through the sea sickness and jumping over the deck

keep swimming all the way back

and remember


we were kings and queens


and act like it


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