On days when my body can be honest with itself
My voice scrapes my throat raw
As my hands carry my anger in the form of words & wood
What is it with the wrongfully oppressed and processions?
Jesus marching to Golgotha
Hashtag movements marching in Ferguson, New York, New Haven
You, Dr. King, marching on landmarks for years
Tell me, do they hope if we walk long enough
We’ll scrape the fight off our soles?
I read that Christian pacifists, white men
Advised you to answer the call to nonviolence
I feel some type of way about white Christians pacifying you with a religion
That “civilized” your ancestors
Did they argue that this would make you more palatable to the majority?
Measure your patience with the spoon they would feed their peers?
Tell you, Less black pepper
Keep the heat low
Somehow your nonviolence still filled them with terror
So when do we stop trying to find our fight mirrored in white faces?
Sometimes, my anger is so big it shuts all of them out
I went to a talk by Christian scholars on social justice
And all of them advised me to forgive
Where do I go when I have no forgiveness left?
This Catholic girl worries that Bible verses preaching forgiveness are opium
Begging black anger to be silent
When is it okay to say, No, fuck your breath
I am not angry all of the time
But this body carries corpses
Rice, Pinckney, Garner, Bland, McDonald are nowhere in my family tree
But they are my dead
I cradle them in the forefront of my mind
Their broken, young bodies a constant, personal weight
My anger is sane & calm & total
Used wisely, it can move institutions
Or just flood this body with relief
But not even black anger is free
My pent-up rage lives in a penthouse
It is expensive
It wears the finest watered-down words and white smiles
It is petted like a zoo animal at my place of business
It is edged off of sidewalks, out of train cars, seminars where white people take up all available space
My anger is afraid to write about our dead because some may find it too political
When exactly can my anger take off its mask?
When I see another police department and jury
Hold hands, look down on another wasted black life, and say, You ain’t shit
I feel my anger wane
The nerves that perceive wrong
Hang somewhere outside of me
My body lies numb
This is how they pacify us
Sometimes I think white people teach you, MLK
Because you allowed them to lock you up so many times
I know you did it for our sake
Some of the most revolutionary acts emerged from behind those bars
Like technicolor from an oil spill
But sometimes I wish our most celebrated civil rights heroes
Hadn’t always been so civil
Anger doesn’t have to be violent
We don’t have to be like them
But when can we claim the right
To let our fury fuel our freedom?