They Say Black Don't...

almost with pride,
like you'd almost think they mastered genetics
and conquered entropy.
They say black don't crack, 
almost with a dash of pity for YTs, 
but specifically the women and their overly punctual wrinkles.
Perhaps the hateful worship, 
the rough, warm cocoon
of Ku Klux lynching and patriarchal chivalry
ain't all it's cracked up to be.

They say black don't crack
with a kind of faint cry and tremor
that sleeps at the back of the mind,
and chokes beneath the throat, 
with a kinda baseless, backwards hope
that would make you think
deep down,
they were relieved, or misguided,
or both.

They say black don't crack,
almost as if this shell of a frame
ain't a crippled constellation of atoms
turned from dust to imago Dei,
to stained, 
to a straight jacket runnin' nowhere fast,
on track to be engulfed in flames.

They say black don't crack,
with a Northern kinda twang and a bit of Southern sass,
almost like they talkin' back
to GOP and Democrat kings
who dictated which shade of humans
were defamed, detained, 
and disenfranchised
by Draconian decrees
on the use of cocaine.

In fact, they say black don't crack
kinda like the way they use to clamor
"Let Freedom Ring",
kinda like the way Martin had a dream,
or like the way slaves would sing over massa,
or like the way we scream Black Lives Matter
as we drop like infected fodder,
sick from second-hand bullshit
in our courts and precincts.

They say black don't crack,
almost with a distinct accent that
sounds a lot like fear
from behind the window of an inner prison.
They say it like they feel
an uneasy gaze of a neurotic social conscience
searing their skin with
a new kind of branding iron.

Nonetheless crack. 

They say black don't crack,
almost as if the breaking were bad,
almost as if the Light don't shine through the cracks.
They say black don't crack,
almost like they've forgotten
that cracking
is the point.

Benjamin Raji


Photo by Sylvain Reygaerts on Unsplash