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#Juneteenth

When it happened
there was no Negro
atop of blazing saddle
preceded by smoking dust clouds
from burnt trail.
The wind carried no screams of the decree.

The war had been over three years.
I was about seventeen
when freedoms fingers
tugged my ear.

In droves they wandered streets
dancing and singing
“Weeze FREE now,”
but the day
was hollow as
Victory’s bloodied head
resting upon shoulder of Future unsure.

I remember walking to window
wondering
“What is this commotion?”

Yankee Me
never knew the story
of how word traveled
at a snail’s pace
to smash shackles off ankles
of trained shuffling feet.

Northern city slicker me
never heard of how
hands bound by fields
formed wings for hearts
that couldn’t pick a sweeter moment
to take flight
than the one that came
not soon enough.

When it happened
I had been amongst them
at least two months
with no knowledge why
Black Folk took pride in this day.

Where was our Patriot Paul
Revered for his historic ride
rallying minutes for men
who wish to be free.

Where was our National Holiday
educating me of
the aesthetics of this event?

Where was the monument
erected
engraving glory in generations to come?

And why did it take so long to come?
Freedom must be a fickle wench.
Grant the pleasures of her passion
at her leisure.
No matter how you love her
she refuses to come.

There must have been hundreds of them
parting plantations
like black river through green pastures
But where was our Moses?

My mind
a mule
broken under the weight of promises
couldn’t carry a single straw of comprehension
of this day.

My thoughts
cast upon heads of
second class citizens
whose locs grew
for bloodshed to key.

Couldn’t fathom the odyssey of pharaohs
returning home to a
forty acre dreamscape.
No longer chattel to masters,
but still shared the crops of sleep.

It would take over a century from the day
for the day
that twenty-eight days would be granted
for education of my people’s history.
It would take over two times forty centuries
of taking knowledge for technology
to accurately document my people’s misery.

And no matter
how much my insides wanted to jig with them
celebrating the glory of the coming of the word

I still saw
July forth panics
where the tradition of picking a nigger for lynching
caused strange fruit to swing
from the poplar tree.

From the late 1700s
to the early 1960s
I still envisioned water hoses
comatose-ing
marching men and women
and dogs with a taste for darkie meat
ripping the flesh of Negro children.

I still had premonitions
of sixty-two licks from night sticks and kicks per minute
inflicted by overseers upon Blackman head and chest
I still heard forty shots of hot lead
searing through a twenty two year old student body
warning what’s to happen if the system
was put to test.

No matter
how much my insides wanted to jig with them,
the weight of possessing skin color in this country
made it hard for me to move feet.

When it happened
there was no Negro
atop of blazing saddle
preceded by smoking dust clouds
from burnt trail.
The wind carried no screams of the decree.

When it happened
on that June nineteenth,
no one believed it had happened
cause the masters
didn’t want me to know
I was free.

I’m not supposed to see
the ghost,
but they peek at me
from floating fragments
of dimensions. 

And I can see them. 

Like I’m not supposed to notice
red tail hawks
perched upon highway lamp post
in the form of Sankofa 

Like the message doesn’t exist.
Like my next move won’t matter.
Like my America is not killing black boys
and letting white men
walk away with murder. 

Like I’m not supposed to speak
upon the ghost I see
peeking at me
from floating fragments
of dimensions.

Like blue uniforms
flashing fourth of July
behind me
isn’t a profile. 

Like race is not a factor
when white men
capitulate to the urge
to create ghost.

Like anyone who speaks about beings
other than God
or angels
is crazy. 

Like it’s ok
to make angels
out of black boys. 

Like calling white men
devils
is racist. 

Like race is not a factor
in the murder trial. 

Like it’s my fault
I can see ghost
like red tail hawks
perched atop highway lamp post
in the form of Sankofa.

Like I’m not supposed to see the message
peeking at me
like ghost
through floating fragments
of dimensions
like a mirror
shattered then scattered
across air.

Like I know my next move matters
when uniforms
Fourth of July America behind me. 

Like I know not all white men are devils.
Just the ones making angels
out of black boys
and walking away with murder. 

Like I’m not supposed to relay the message.
Like the message doesn’t exist.
Like I’m not all broken hero
of shattered Heru.
No Jonah.
Just Geppetto
in the belly of the ghetto. 

Like ghosts of murdered black boys
peeking at griots
through floating fractures
of shattered dimensions.

Griots like Poets
who should be more like prophets.
Like Jonah.
Not Geppetto
in the belly of the ghetto. 

But prophets
seek profits
and the message gets distorted. 

Shattered like pieces of mirror
scattered through air
shattered ghost of broken toys
wanting to be real boys.

The ghost speak to me.
Missing.
Flying on bikes
like angels
to mother’s kisses
buttermilk biscuits
and school dances .

Ghost speak to me.
Bragging
of flying like angels
in b ball pick up
and puppy love machismo. 

Ghost
toss soul
in the universe
to magic penny
wish on me
to become 

A man. 

Not a boy
with dreams
of flying. 

Shattered
like I could be them.
Like my next move doesn’t matter.
Like I’m not supposed to see the message
God graffittied on blue sky.
And white cloud
in red tail hawk
perched upon highway lamp post
in the form of Sankofa. 

That white men
with the urge
to make ghost
make black bodies
fly like angels. 

Warning
that my next move matters
because America
is flashing fourth of July
in rear view mirror. 

Eyes full of ghost.
Life is unattainable
for black boys
better born angels.

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