The Intersection

Right below the part in her
glorious and righteous fro
is a fissure in her dome.
Her skull is cracking.
She is splitting in two
from the stress and
tension caused by
opposing forces that
require only parts.
Like a paper doll caught
in a childish and political
tug of war match, 

he is slowly
being ripped in half.
And she screams in anguish
while fighting to stay whole,
fighting to stay complete,
but remaining intact and
autonomous is simply
not allowed. She must fall
in line on one of the sides,
there is no negotiation,
no compromise. She as is,  
cannot serve their purposes
and so they pull. Back and
forth, they pull. Viciously and 

selfishly they clutch and snatch;
both demanding that she be 

their pawn, both needing her
to increase their numbers
and serve as their resource.
What she wants, matters not.
It is inconvenient for either
that she exists in the intersection. 

She is either a black person or
a woman and must either
stand with black men
or march with white women,
despite the fact that she 

straddles both, she is both,
and wants to honor 

both, concurrently.
She can not.
There is no middle ground
even if she is the middle ground,

she cannot be allowed to stand her ground.
So they tug at her, like the pawn
they see her as, tearing her apart,
until something gives,
not caring if that something
is not just her crown, not caring 

that what might be lost is 

her sanity.

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How Many More?

How many more, how many more names must we collect? How many more poems must be written? I don’t think my heart can handle much more.


How many more police will not be convicted or even be indicted for murder? How many will have pensions subsidized by crowdfunding monies? How many more?


How many more times will we be gunned down in stairwells or chased through our own neighborhoods? How many more wallets and phones will be mistaken for weapons? How many more times will we have to scream that we can’t breathe?


How many more of us will be stopped, frisked and summoned? How many more will be pulled over when driving down the street? How many more will be reported for looking suspicious when going for a jog or sitting in a coffee shop?


How many more stores must we burn? How many more businesses must be looted? How many more cities must be rioted?


How many more mothers will need to teach their sons how to survive interactions with the police? How many more will still not make it home?


How many more white men will wave guns at cops and camera men but still be allowed to walk away? How many more white women will yell at officers and also walk away? How many more black people will do the same and not survive the interaction?


How many more times will a toy gun justify the death penalty? How many more times will our babies be mistaken for the hulk?


How many more female victims will we ignore as part of this narrative? Sisters are not just the wives and spouses of these victims they too are victims! So how many more?


How many more times will we allow officers to lie to our face about what transpired? How many more times will we have proof and still wonder if they will be convicted? How many times?


We were up in arms about Diallo. We were disgusted by Bell. It happens almost every day. Martin, Garner, Brown, Graham, Gurley, Gray, Rice, Crawford, McKenna, Jean, Roberson, Bradford, Boyd, Bland... There so many names; I cannot recall them all... But I must recall them until there are no more...


And how many more “friends” must I lose because they can’t empathize or even sympathize with my pain? How many times must I call for an ally and realize I am left alone? How many more? How, many more? How, many, more? Before change finally comes...

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What It All Means

Two X chromosomes with an extra shot of melanin means

having an impossible beauty standard applied to you as you are told to tame your natural mane in order to pass, to get promoted, to be attractive, to be accepted.


Two X chromosomes with an extra shot of melanin means

having to suppress the needs of half of yourself when interacting with either the double X or melanated communities. You are to bolster numbers but your specific issues are never to be addressed.


Two X chromosomes with an extra shot of melanin means

being told “you remind me of Sandra Bland” while pulled over by flashing lights and having to pretend as if your life wasn’t just threatened. 


Two X chromosomes with an extra shot of melanin means

being cat called and told to smile when you just want to be left alone and then standing strong while you’re called a bitch because you failed to respond with docility. In your mind you hope that that’s the only penalty you pay, that he won’t shoot you because his ego was too fragile to handle your rejection. 


Two X chromosomes with an extra shot of melanin means

being told your educational and career pursuits make you absolutely unlovable, how dare you not focus on baking bread and babies? Oh, the gall you must have to have other ambitions and demand a healthy love!


Two X chromosomes with an extra shot of melanin means

developing growths the size of coins, baseballs, or cantaloupes in your uterus, hemorrhaging every month, and then smiling through the pain that makes you pray for death while you are stuck working all day; the bills must be paid.

  

Two X chromosomes with an extra shot of melanin means

being called President TJ’s mistress when you were his rape victim, it means your curves are a museum exhibit, and your stolen genes cure them all. 


Two X chromosomes with an extra shot of melanin means

realizing that office politics dictate that there can only being one great woman of color, so your sistah friends at work are also your greatest competition. For you to propel yourself forward, you must hold your kin down. 


Two X chromosomes with an extra shot of melanin means

ignoring and overcoming it all, owning your shine, crowning yourself each day and being the queen you know you are. It’s seeing your two X chromosomes with a shot of melanin as a blessing and badge of honor. Only few can survive the violence, the pressure, and the imposed blood sacrifice that you are exposed to on the daily and still emerge tough and radiating like the diamonds embedded in your ancestral land. It means this and so much more, it means you must and that you will thrive on!

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