there are
systematic lashes on my skin
green paper cuts on my lips
from kissin’ massa’s pocket
more than I kiss my kids
tears hang from my eyelids
too cavalier to fall
so hear the real tears in my cough when
acid tears fall from tear gas lodged in my iris
I’ll walk it off
you never gave me a choice but
don’t ask me to bleed peacefully
don’t ask me to engage in dialogue
my voice is clogged with bullets
my pen is hooked to my wounds
so my ink is rosy
like Tamir
thick like Michael’s crimson puddle
dreamy like Martin’s speech taken out of context
forgotten like Martin’s critique of white
loose and easy language about equality
(the) ever-present tendency to backlash (when)
the Negro has come far enough
don’t ask me to calm down
don’t you hear it
my heartbeat is still
my pulse didn’t make it to the stretcher
I am undead
forever awake
forever weary of american dreams that
keep me playing my part
keep me reliving my rape
my execution my shame
keep me nostalgic of my time
before my star-spangled hell
nostalgic of my glowing ebony my dirt my art
my hands my water bucket my dance
don’t ask me how my bars won a grammy
your bars your cages broke my family
don’t ask how we broke like Jay Z’s bank
made him any less your show monkey
don’t ask me to talk of my struggles
just so you can watch my scar tissue dance
don’t ask why we run on CP time
we stayed out late on your plantations
don’t say I need more role models
Christ will do just fine
don’t ask me about black on black crime
Tyrique doesn’t wear a badge
Tyrique isn’t paid to kill
Tyrique isn’t paid to meet a quota
Tyrique won’t get paid vacation
Tyrique won’t get paid period
black death, brown fear won’t be taken serious
till it surfs on a wave of white tears

don’t tell me to take a plea bargain
don’t ask me to take time off
don’t tell me to self-care
I was born with your Glock in my chest
I’ll walk it off.

but will you

- Backlash