for kalief.

poetry

We not gonna go
back-and-forth over this man’s existence–

I know you’re not gonna give me that
I just wanna say

You not fooling me.

This is about you.

Head
busted open by bars and backpacks or no
backpacks and incompetence
the weight of two
thousand pounds.
Murdering
the
evergreen of quest
because,

And this is undeniable,

That quest,
that desire,
was part of a black boy’s journey.

We need to continuously
deny the existence of dead desires because,

for one
it is easier than actually telling us that
we are un-human.

Some
ghastly construction in a dark recess of
your brain
a reckless first attempt on the part of the
Creator
a population of the undead
a group of stateless beings whose presence
demands more than mere inquiry

He

is gone.

Simply,
and only
because he was stateless.
He was a boy without a home
so you did the only thing that you could have
done

You let him know.

You put
him in a box
compelled him to sit there for an immoral span
of time
and then demanded

That he
pick up the invisible backpack
and vanish from sight

After you told him he was homeless.
After you deprived him of the right to engage
with another
human being for 400 days

After that, he was thrust back into the world.

And
because of the incredible reserve of persist in
his
bones he ended up in college, earning a G.P.A.
over 3.5 in his first semester

Of course,

The horror of being shut up in a container
for three years
had taken its toll.

Instead of addressing this
incredible man’s coping behaviors,

He was once again reminded of his lack of
residence.

We not gonna go
back-and-forth over this man’s existence,
I know you’re not gonna give me that

I just wanna say

You not fooling me.

This is about you.

I want you
with a savage endurance, to dig out that
corner
in your mind
just unearth it,
and study it for awhile.

Study
the jagged contours of it.
Manifest Destiny’s descendant tightly wound
around the frame of it.
run your hands over the edges of it
and then tell me how
you can look into the camera, into our open
faces,

stroke them softly, and whisper:
“While your persistent sense of justice is
admirable,
I don’t have to explain myself to
stowaways,
to vagrants.

Surely you must know that by now.”

He had
arms and legs
thighs and a torso
a brain,
that even after three years of unjust
detention
was able to rationalize,
to sort out,
ascend.

He didn’t have a backpack.

But you,
in your humanness
in your omnipotent wisdom,
decided
that none of those things
mattered.

You decided,
like you have in many instances,
that the bright shine of his eyes indicated
menacing otherworldliness
instead of a dream breathing brown
you decided you could prosecute nascent
ambition because it was
encased in brown arms and legs
You decided
you decide.

He could have been
the bold leader of a starship
He could have been a comet
in the form of a man
He could have been.

But you.

You are so afraid that all the “discovery” and
“unearthing” and “studying”
isn’t enough
to justify
the ravaging of history

That it isn’t enough to justify
your having a home
and him.

Him carrying the weight of a myth in the form
of a backpack.

(2015)

For Reference:

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