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“Men”

If we wake from stupor
hung over from the concoction of toxins
we owe it to tell what we wish we’d known

to boys in the hood
men in the hood

white supremacy has forced me to reflect
what is a man? what is a hood?

and what behind such violent or silent fear might we be hiding?

what is this manhood, if not
personhood
snatched and attacked, detached like chains and
purses in the hood
what persons in the hood

“no persons in the hood”.
persons left for dead
dead left for good

Black girls missing in the hood
Black girls trafficked and enslaved
abused, beaten, maimed, murdered in the hood

Black men– we– all too quiet on this subject
Black men sitting quietly like the system, unmoved by such acid, cocktails of sweat and tears
Afraid to fear, for being found out feeling
Black men complaining about The Man, but wanting to be that, the kitchen as a colony and the bedroom the bowel of a sinking ship
an unwilling cargo, unfair exchange, bodies stacked in taught position

When will Black men–we– trade manhood, for embrace, for personhood
When will we divorce from this White, European gender to which we cling so tightly, clothing us so losely

Survivors speaking choked out truths through compounded stages of grief
How can we doubt her, when we’ve done these deeds,
How can we deny her the simple solidarity of our belief?
When we will abandon doubt and embrace us

realizing that the tears of those who died crying for us have all but dried up in once rich black fertile soil once soaked with love

little boys unloved learn the posture of a poorly performed poise
muscles clinched and by now stiff, the learned look of tough
all to keep from wildly shaking, scared and quivering, nails digging down into the calloused palms of our own hands, we must unfold and let someone hold it
clothed in ‘activism’, running stale lines through her old megaphone,
what a weakness cloaked, wrapped neatly in the performance of a still bravado, unbrave
nevertheless drenched in the blood of lovers we’ve left to die alone

hard to doubt a drought
the chap of parch so mercilessly cuts through lying lips
the raspy timbres of that crackling first-of-morning articulation after so long a slumber, the vinyl-esque, crunchy undertones of our voices all too quiet tell of a voice relearning now how to speak
how to say her name

realizing the quiet of the voices we’ve silenced
realizing the hum of rooms hollowed out by self-hatred and abandonment and emotional unavailability and the disparate division of heavy labour

realizing

Silenced voices can’t defend us.
Silenced voices don’t amplify ours.
Voices silenced only tell our shame
with every fading echo of lost breath.

it is not this part of passion to be lauded when one says
“you, you take my breath away”.

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