Promised Land

I am inspired by the protests around the country. I am hopeful that real, systemic and long overdue change is coming.


I will never experience what it’s like to be African American, but I will listen, learn, and seek to understand. While I worry about saying the wrong thing, saying nothing is not an option. So please, kindly guide me when my voice stumbles. We are stronger when our voices rise together.


On that note, today’s poem.


The thought occurred to me that the relationship between America and African Americans is one of domestic violence on a national scale. The way that domestic violence is often cycled from generation to generation (learned behaviors) being applicable on the national scale to systemic racism (culturally ingrained biases and institutional biases). The thought occurred to me that "on paper" America is the best country to live in, with the American Dream granting equal opportunity for all. What a phycological disconnect (aka head-fuck) it must be for those that are systematically discriminated against in this country. Since America - like an abusive lover - can claim that "I'm the best you'll ever get. Others literally die to get a chance to live within my borders. Don't ever forget how lucky you are".


I know this analogy simplifies the issues greatly, and in doing so it robes the individual humanness of personal lived experience. But sometimes zooming out from the trees and seeing the forest can help show a path to get to the other side.


Here goes...



Millions risk their lives

to reach

this promised land.

Answering Liberties call

proudly beckoning

the American Dream.

A symbol of hope.

The land of the free

nestled under

a banner of stars.

Where all men

are created equal.


These golden promises

flow

like honey

from an abusive lover's lips.

Whispering lies.

The sweet sirens call

of a better future.


Tiny whispers

everywhere

proclaiming

you are blessed.

Born

in the land

of milk

and honey.


Tiny whispers

everywhere

telling you

to count

your bannered stars

in gratitude.

Hold your tongue.

The injustice

isn’t real.


Tiny whispers

everywhere

telling you

racism

no longer exists.

Your experience

is mistaken.

The game

is fair.


Tiny whispers

everywhere

telling you

to ignore

the deep red

and white stripes

left by history's scars.


Tiny whispers

everywhere

telling you

to turn a blind eye,

to the memories

buried

in your bones.

Ancestors dragged

from their homes.

Shackled and caged.

Toiling in a land

of oppression.

Not a land founded

by the brave.


Tiny whispers

everywhere

cannot hide

the truth.

Hope drowning

in darkness.

The promise

of a better future

shackled

behind the bars

of bias.

Dreams caged,

held hostage

in the promised land

with nowhere else

to go.




Reimagine 

what's 

possible

Then go there