on charleston

“Want to hear something funny?”
He flashes me that stupid grin.
You know the one –
like something Satan would wear
if his IQ never broke the decimal barrier.

“What?”
I respond curtly,
or perhaps too courteously.
My kind eyes are an open invitation
For a good ol’ fashion
mental curb stomping.

“You’re not going to like it.”
He grins even wider.
My eyes flash to the corner of his lips,
searching for a zipper.

“It’s a joke.”

I swallow hard,
knowing full well
what he prefaces is poison.

“Okay…”
Slips out a whimper.

“Why do black people only have nightmares?”

Someone dials up the thermostat on the back of my neck.
No time, no courage to interject.

“Because we killed the last one with a dream.”

I stare blankly…
All I can muster is a shake of the head,
as if the motion could shake his hatred from my eardrums.
That night, I go to bed hungry for human decency
while one word clings to my psyche:

We.”

I rest my weary head
heavy with thoughts of We.
We, the people of these United States of Whiteness
are the assassins of dreams.

We.

We, the people, drunkenly slurring our songs of freedom:
an insidious battle cry.
We, he said, like we were all in on it.
Like my percentage of melanin gave me membership to birthright savagery.

We, incriminating me and my entire family.
We, the destroyers of their hopes and dreams.
We, the sadists delighting from voices silenced.
We, the perpetrators of unspeakable violence.

We.

We eat their dreams when we eat their children,
school yards, prison cells, and churches our places of banquet.
WE are the cannibals long scorned in our heart of darkness.
WE are the weapons of their mass destruction.
We are mere beasts cloaked in sanctioned slaughtering,
bearing clubs and guns and the good Queen’s English.

We,
the taste of blood in my mouth.
We,
the taste of my own tongue as I bite down.
We,
How can you be proud of your heritage now?
We…

We shoot old women in churches…
Or blow up their granddaughters on their way to school…

We is the poison that runs through my veins
when they can’t run fast enough to escape
a bullet from a gun
used to serve and protect

me

and my privilege…

But, best not to bite the hand that feeds,
much better to bite your own tongue.
The Royal White We
is much bigger than you, dear.
You are just an involuntary agent.
You will be disposed of when no longer convenient.
Don’t take it personally,

it’s just business.

If and when you are let go,
We would appreciate if you’d return what you’ve borrowed:
We will take back your eyes,
your bones,
your skin,
your education,
and your worldly successes.
Those rightfully belong to US.

Henceforth, we shall cede to you the following:
freckles,
body fat,
poetry,
and your vagina…we certainly won’t be needing that.
You may also keep
your empathy
your integrity
and human dignity if you so choose.

They’re not much use to US anyway.

Now, sign this contract please,
and We’ll be on our way.
Sincerely,
The United States of We.

To we, I say good riddance.
All you’ve leant only sullies its keeper.

Fuck off, We!

May a rainbow of faces place shadows in your dreams
and let them plant weeds in your garden.
It’s time to forfeit your keys to paradise –
Eden has been white long enough.

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