politics of body


Nigga is another word for guilty.
Black body is problem.

The black body is simply fodder in the white man’s American Dream.

I say white man with all bitterness these wilting scars can muster,
but I ain’t neglected to notice
the superpredator comments of white women
who want my vote.
I have not ignored how easy it’s always been
for them to trade in their feminist plight for
a chance to play Bonnie & Clyde
on the Negro’s tombstone.
Your feminism is lukewarm, 
flat, bland,
lacking vertebrae.
Your social justice
is moral-flavored rubbish
when your marches stretch only as far as
your willful color-blindness permits you.

That’s neither here nor there though.
White man’s the one with the softest ego
and loudest mouth,
the one with the largest boner in
everything walking about this earth--

My body stopped
being mine
when I let them
call it
something other than
Stop. Rewind.

We twist
boys created to reflect
chocolate-covered glory
into victims of neglect
obsessed with respect, 
unable to reflect,
therefore handicapped by success--
Stop. Rewind.

When the ghosts of Negroes past come knockin,
come jukin’ and rockin’ and looking to collect names,
they remember the knots on their nooses,
the bonfire parties.
The sloppy parting of black bodies
reminds me that
a black body united
is a mothafuckin’ problem.

They see the coffee bean shade of brown in your pupils,
the river of ebony on your bones--
rich, milky, resilient, uncontrolled,
my nigga they see you
and see too much soul--
the rhythm in your woes,
the Cantu sheen in your rows,
the game in your waves,
the jazz in your ‘fro,
the rock in your roll.
You are imago Dei, 
the image of Yahweh in chains,
a slave, yet you sing--

they burn you in church, keep choking when you can’t breathe,
wag their pale fingers at abortion right ‘fore they
fiberglass your ceilings, 
than stash you in a cage

(for holdin’ some Mary Jane, thuggin’ with some crack,
but I guess tobacco, powder cocaine, 10 TB of information, caffeine,
a pharmaceutical industry fat on the wallet we bless
with every diagnosis we accept--
guess we just gone ignore all that)

to work for J.C. Penny,
making pennies per hour. 

with toy guns
in open carry states
tried as men, 
pronounced guilty
with a death sentence
in under two seconds.
Heartbeat, future
now silent,
reduced to drive-bys sanctioned by the state,
to pigs--I mean cops--I mean pigs--playing 007 with little kids--rewind & stop.

Men with balls low enough
to talk back to massa, feed the hood breakfast, 
and still lead revolutions
feel the weight, the hush, the violent silence of american dreams--
protect and serve was never meant for a person
who was once ⅗ of a person.
They taught me ‘bout the Bill of Rights,
‘bout free speech, ‘bout the right to bear arms, ‘bout the right to be
but I learned if black body is your particular coffin,
if your name is Fred Hampton
your freedom is your permission to rest in peace
as 80+ bullets pop and dance through your home
while you sleep--

These systems and structures will not stand for much longer,
master's boot will not stand on my head for much longer,
because he can taste rebel in my blood,
and see the breath of Elohim in my eyes,
he knows
there is only one master I submit to.
And if he doesn't,
he gone learn today.
By any means necessary. By all means available.
Fight like you know that to survive in a white man's world is to taste your chattel blood, sweat, and tears on your lips and still move forward.
Like you know your dougie, your two-step, your formation,
your shining,
the audacity of your naps and curls and ebony silk of a skin tone is cause enough for them to grind you against your brother into dust.
Fight like you know breathing in America while black is to incite rebellion--

Dear America,

I will crack you.
You gone beg this pen to stop its massacre
after I paint your streets
with the blood you stole from my veins
and beat sense into your state
with the aching bones you broke from my frame
when you had me in a cage--

Black baptisms. Black bodies baptized in pools of red. Black bodies baptized in mamas’ tears when another black body is dipped in red concrete. One black body is sent to sleep with cold metal. Another black body is woken by the trigger click, the metal's cry, the baby’s scream, the hasty feet of black fodder, black prey, the dusty glow of Ku Klux hoods that have shape-shifted into badges--
what color is your body
what color is your blood
who made the law?
Who’s been playing Judge, Jury, and God?

Benjamin Raji