onetime

poetry

One time
somebody told me I wasn’t worth nothin

One time
somebody told me a lie.

One time one time
somebody told me that I didn’t
factor into history

One time
somebody told me all my music and hairstyles and dance moves and
sartorial presence demanded a reinterpretation

and then I saw that somebody
With all my stuff on,
dancin my dances
playin my damn music

and sayin shit like
“introducing”
and
“hot new style”

One time one time one time
somebody told me my mother was a mule
that she housed other people’s dreams but had
none of her own

as if
breastfeeding America for half a century was a
little-ass footnote

That one was crazy.

One time
somebody told me
I sounded stupid
because

Fulani lingual structures were abound in my
slang.

I also found that funny.

One time
somebody told me
we were supposed to die

And one of the reasons why
it’s so crazy out here
is because

they didn’t account for
way outta no way
and the melody of
resourcefulness

One time
somebody told me
that my nightmares were happening.

One time one time
somebody told me
not to wake up.

“You will drown in your dreams
and
be crushed under the weight
of ambitious, starry-eyed murderers placing
targets on the backs of
unarmed,
unwarned civil rights bills

Your spirit will buckle underneath
the weighty indignity of being actualized

Don’t wake up.

It will take
Infinitely more than we can muster
to cater to your need to be
nourished,
celebrated.

Sleep.

sleep, now.”

(2015)
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