I gotta tell you sorry for the quiet command of my gait.
I gotta tell you sorry.
I gotta tell you sorry because “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.”
I gotta tell you sorry.
And there ain’t
No amount of bargaining that can be done,
no negotiating for freedom that can take place in dimly lit rooms accented by civil rights judges and women sittin on buses
I just gotta say sorry.
I’m sorry that I can’t button up tight enough, that the rough edges of my life make you squeamish.
Do you mind if I sit next to you, so that the witness in my right thigh brushes up against the bitter fringe of a body colonized by cognitive dissonance?
I gotta just say I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that sorry will not do. I’m sorry that I can only offer ape skulls and Hottentot bodies
I’m sorry that the mere acknowledgment of burning Oklahoma towns and hanging limbs makes the flesh on your face twitch
I’m sorry that I cannot make you more comfortable.
I am sorry that you cannot find home in the crook I carved out in my chest for you;
I’m sorry that you have to listen to people complain about police states and oppression and blood rolling down like a river in the street and hands up and mothers crying on talk shows
Because we do,
We really do complain too much. We should be happy that you have welcomed us here,
To this land,
That has borne quiet witness to Torture,
Indoctrination that willed the lives out of people
We should really
All that has been done.
I mean, how much more can you give, right?
When are we
Going to take some
Some, you know, accountability for all of this?
Concerned citizen to another, I can tell you, I’m working on it.
We gotta tell the truth, some of us say.
Some of us, we say, deserve what we get.
Some of us burn up cars.
We gotta get to the truth, we say, accusatory.
Some of us are lazy, we offer.
Some of us are beyond help, we say. We shake our heads in disgust.
We can’t run away from the truth, we say.
When I ask them what the truth is, however, I don’t get a straight answer.
I get “We’re not talking about ALL of us.”
Which is just what blustering panelists and institutions say.
Not ALL of us.
Well, exactly how many of us are unworthy of love?
How many of us are unseeable, a blot on the starched shirt of ebony achievement?
How many before that shirt all blacked up?
How many before you realize that you are a blot on the pressed shirt’s collar?
Your name was written on the inside before you turned your attention to it.
How many stains we need to clean before we can really get free?
Before they give us what we need?
Before our pressed shirts and straightened hair wreck them into knowing?
How long before they call us sentient?
Beings capable of loss, destruction, heartbreak and scandal
Somebody who loves and eats sleeps and walks?
How long Before you realize
You been an inkblot, to them.
You were unseeable darkness the whole 400 years.
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