I do not know what to say;
Where I do start,
There is poetry in the beginning and end of this
I am afraid I will forget you,
Dead in the street like dog,
Dead in street like mutt, like negro
Teach me the couplets lain between your lines and dark boy
That we can remember you
When you are the flicker in the poet’s cigarette butt
And the dregs in empty wine glasses
And dinner table chat as the people fix their white to debate your humanity
While they gorge on black pain
Devour the density in this skin
Decide on how we resist
I want to remember the taste of your god and click
And creases in cotton and construct
Remember what it was like before
Black was only pretty as it swelled
Dark skin cries oil slick
Too dark boy,
I know there is God in your obsidian
There can be no home for divinity but in the earth of your complexion
This skin gives life like our lives don’t get snatched from us
Teach us hide fear between our callouses, know well who’s out hunting.
Black Skin knows salt water well
Knows well the kiss of ocean beat against wood and tar
Knows well the cold of this water bites like bleach
Knows well rivers which try to swallow us whole and this dark skin could never swim
Knows well the tumble of mourning across
Child, go and find me your mother,
This boy’s gonna rot in the sun
Our boys, strange fruit, forever rot in this sun
You, white, stay lighting fires in this skin.
They twinkle, colonise our sky
Steady themselves in our dark.
Grip our wounds for balance.
they are never done talking of Man,
yet murder men everywhere they find field burnt skin
That boy has the stench of black about him like coffinkiss soil
These shadows are growing but the Sun will not come.
He has forgotten our name in this darkness
And cares not where we will go.
There is a baptism in this blood
Tonight, we will wash the last of their gunpoint god from our tongues.
Tonight, take Ogun with you as you travel this darklit road,
Carry this skin close to your chest until you can find the last of yourself in the fear of man.
Remember to call from the other side,
There are many here who love you like damp fingertips on glass panes.
the villainy in their hackneyed constellations will find their sleep
know never to shed your twilight
know well that these stars fall in mourning of you
know well how to breathe, the air is seeking out your lungs through these gunshots
know well this pound of flesh will not be in vain
know well you will never walk this night alone, the winnowed sky will forever be your own
know well the density in this skin, it will not crack under the weight of our grief
know well that you are loved, we still wait for you to come home