Collective Unrest

 

On Being Black and Blue

January 2, 2019

There is this word that I was always told wasn’t for me.
“It isn’t something we use.”
And when the world behind my eyes was too bright,
pitched to the side, not quite enough.
Old color, not quite black and white, grainy skies,
I would squint at this word and wonder.
And though the covers around me were warm and welcoming,
the thought of the cold that lay in wait
beyond my bed, drew me into the quiet.
There is this word I always thought wasn’t for me.
When my body can get out of bed,
I feel my skin pulling me right back down.
And I wrench it back onto my white bones, and tell it
that it’s enough to keep my world beating—
“Its a lot of work” I say to the mirror.
As I realize that everyone that looks like me
becomes a spokesperson for this skin.
We are billboards encouraging the mass consumption
Of fresh, icy cold hatred.
And this should hurt me.
But my world is built around this lie,
so I’m strung and I reminded my skin to stay in place
There is this word that I always thought wasn’t for me.
“Look how far you’ve come,” they say, “from slaves to enemy combatants.
Now, you can be targets instead of cattle.”
There is this word I always thought wasn’t for me.
What should I be sad about?
When my grandmother reminds to pray—
I don’t tell her it’s just another man that thinks the idea of me
Isn’t worth entertaining.
That doesn’t have the time, energy or ability to change.
There is this word I always thought wasn’t for me.
When I talk to my mother I want to say it to her.
Because there is a chance I might break…
But then I remember that mom is a title I granted her,
And I don’t think the palm-full of pride I can give her is enough
To keep the word from taking her too.
There is this word I always thought wasn’t for me.
I was told we didn’t have any reason for it.
It was an insult to our fathers.
A stain on our history;
A welt on my mother’s skin that would forever mar
the words “I love you”.
There is this word that I wear alongside my skin.
And it reminds me that I am Black
and Blue.

 

 

Eloise Brown is a Michigan native. When she’s not writing or reading she can probably be found cooking and then putting pictures of her food on Instagram.

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