Content Warning: Mentions of racial violence
When you find a burning cross on my front lawn
know that it’s too late.
I’ve already been marked by the holiness
of the white man’s burden.
My heaven was stripped away by the whitehood,
Taken by the prideful wizard next door.
Don’t let Kanye speak at my funeral.
He’ll tell you I was hanged peacefully,
That there was no resistance in my capturing
That it was my choice to sway in the tree.
He’ll let the choir sing over my body
until it decomposes
Becoming nutrients to feed the hanging tree.
We can’t let him save sinners with tickets to heaven.
We won’t find God in a pair of Yeezys
on a Calabasas mountain top.
Please don’t let a “cultured” Chad weep over my casket
Though it wouldn’t be the first time
a self-proclaimed woke white boy
cried over my pain to turn
his hate crime into a campaign speech.
His great-grandfather took those night rides
in Alabama because he wanted to.
Wore that robe with honor.
Lit every fire under the guidance of WWGWD,
What Would the Grand Wizard Do?
The only difference between Chad and his grandfather
is that Chad apologizes
Like the ashes on his grandfather’s hands
don’t still stain his skin,
Like it’s a coincidence we have the same last name.
When I die,
reincarnate my blood
into the Confederate flag.
Isn’t that the real heart of America?
Its deepest pride and embarrassment
A woven image of this country’s secrets.
This wasn’t an accident.
When I find a burning cross on my front lawn,
know that I set the fire.
Used Chad’s tears and bones as fuel.
Know that it’s a warning to Kanye
That his services are no longer needed.
When I die, take my casket to the ocean.
I’d rather drown with my ancestors
than burn in their image.
On long Sunday afternoons,
we hold each other to pass the time.
After the bitter taste of stale crackers and cranberry juice
We shed the skin of burning church clothes,
and slide into fresh white Nikes.
Heartbreak waves and all being hand over our bodies.
The O’Jays and Marvin Gaye sing us into memory.
My brother is in the living room holding a glass of courage.
The words of Stairway to Heaven are pouring out of him
Spilling onto the carpet.
When the courage runs out,
he throws the glass onto the floor
and lets the tears chase it.
My mother tries to clean up the mess.
He shakes her off and keeps singing.
The music stops.
We can’t keep crying over the same songs,
Listening each time
like the outcome will be different.
The repetition is driving us insane.
My brother is angry.
Lost melodies flow misplaced adrenaline until
Closed eyes cry glass into the lyrics.
He rocks to the beat to keep from falling over.
This is how time keeps us.
My aunt refuses to accept the mourning
from the kitchen.
Washing the beans from the plates is her dying wish
The music is too loud for her to focus.
Her voice gets lost in unison with ours,
Forcing obedience into the air.
It’s time to remember.
Instead of pouring one out,
We bless our bodies with ice-cold heaven.
Our tongues split silence until
we get tired of wasting our hard-earned money
It takes the whole bottle,
before we’re coherent enough to have a conversation.
Hennessy touches the lips of “I love you”
We mix it with half a cola to remember it’s okay to cry.
Break bread on gravestones
so on Monday mornings we can starve forgiveness.
I can hear your voice when they take shots to the head,
“Sunday is our home.”