African American

A Mother and her Son

I saw this yesterday on Mr. Solomon’s YouTube channel. This is a timely and vivid portrait of the pain a mother feels for the loss of her child. It is my prayer that we come to an end of the senseless and meaningless violence that takes the lives of so many sons and daughters in my community. Before anyone says “It is not my problem,” or “That’s not my neighborhood,” you must realize that someday it could be. Tomorrow may see our sons and daughters slain in the streets if we do not fight the hate of today and ignorance of yesterday. If our past is not our schoolmaster, our present will be our misery and a pit will be our future.

Peace.

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Is it because I’m Black?

Once again, another poem I wrote a few years ago. This is one that is not read so well, but best emphasized through spoken word. This is published in my book of poetry Everything Woman under the title “past.present.future.”.

“Is it because I’m black?” (aka “past.present.future”)

K.T. Edwards

 

My skin is dark and my hair is nappy,
My nose is wide and my lips are thick,
My hips are full and my butt is round,
But is it because I’m Black that you frown?

Is it because I’m black?
When I walk in the store
All eyes on me
From the door to the rack
Can I try this on please?
Without you breathin’ down my neck
Are you really gonna follow me?
Ask if I need anything and I haven’t even looked at anything
But when I need to ask anything
You can’t be found…

Skin is only as deep as the ocean we came on;
The color of chocolate, honey or almond,
So many names for a race called by one
Why can’t I just be and be happy within?
Is it because I am black that you won’t let me live ?

Here is where I am,
There is where I want to be.
Because I am black you won’t let me get
From here to there, there to here, here we go again.

You stop me and
Say I fit the description
Of another brother/sister/friend.

And is it really that hard to tell us apart
When her hair is straight and
Mine is not?

You think my skin is the color of what?
Well then maybe it is
I’m not ashamed of who I am
I don’t run from the sun that gives us life

The color the Son made me is the color that I should be
So why you wanna make me feel I should be
Mad, ashamed, run and hide

Bleach my skin and perm my hair
I don’t think you understand
It’s because I’m Black that it grows this way!

Because I’m the only Black person in the room/on the job/in the world
You think I know the answer that all Black people will say
You think I look just like Macy Gray
You think I’d look better if I straightened my hair
You think I talk funny because I don’t use slang
You tell me I have an accent on what grounds?
You think it is weird how I’m the only Black person you know that

Listens to John Williams?

So is it because you are not Black that you don’t understand
The real meaning of what it means to be Black?
That being Black is not the way you dress, talk, walk, or drive;
The music we listen to, the way we wear our hair.
These are not the definitions of our people.

A people that built a country for free and
Then had to fight for the right to vote for its leaders.

We are not defined by our hips and our lips,
We are more than statistics and numbers—
Victims of this disease
Prone to that illness.
A father by fifteen, in jail by eighteen and dead by nineteen
Is not who our men are.

 

Our women are not loose and have children for the city
Our young people are not drug dealers and up to no good.

 

We get married and stay married
We go to college and finish
We own businesses and pay taxes
We vote even when it may not be counted
We are doctors and we are teachers
We are lawyers and we are judges
We are Black and strong because we are Black
Our past has made us strong
Our experience is who we are and
Our future is where we are going

 

 

To: The Black Man

In celebration of Black History Month, I decided to post one of my older poems. I wrote this as an essay for a speech class during undergrad a few years ago. It has since been published in Everything Woman and has been one of my favorites when I am asked to speak at public functions or spoken word open-mics.  If you like it, remember there are more where this came from! Also, pass the word along to someone you know that may like it, but if it turns up plagiarized, I WILL COME LOOKING FOR YOU!!! Enjoy responsibly.

To the Black Man

K.T. Edwards

We came together through the Middle Passage
On a great ship packed liked cargo.
From Africa to the Caribbean, the West Indies and the Americas
We reached lands unknown to us.

I was there with you when
We were separated on the auction block
And sold as if we were nothing more than animals.
I cradled and held you when the master beat you.
I wiped the blood from the open wounds on your back;
The flesh torn and hanging from your body
All signs of that infamous leather whip.

I was the one who shed tears for both of us.
I calmed your anger when they sold our children,
And sat in silence when they raped and used me
Watching as you could do nothing
Afraid he would kill you…

However, I was with you in the talented tenth—
When we flourished as teachers, lawyers, doctors, and professionals.
The Black Renaissance changed us
We were in our golden age
When we were reborn and born again.
When divine organizations flowed in nine rivers.

Our music was played in places we could not go,
And we purchased a home in the Hamptons and vacationed in Martha’s Vineyard
Finally, my brother I was with you
As we kept our eyes on the prize.
I marched with you hand in hand
And side by side.
Men spat in our face and broke our bones.
And as we both waited to overcome
We realized our dream with Dr. King.

So today, I ask you not for diamonds,
You know, “ice” or “bling”,
I simply ask that you love me the same.
Love me and respect me,
Because I have carried this race of people and
Borne great leaders forth from my womb.
I have raised a nation and not neglected my family,
Cleaned the houses of those that hated us and
Fed the mouths of those that needed us.

I have prayed and preached,
Blessed and bleached,
I’ve gone from domestic to doctor in three generations;
And I have carried our people for four hundred years.

But now, I am tired;
I am weary and worried.
I am afraid that you will not be there to carry me,
As I have carried you,
As I have cared for you, and as I have comforted you.

I beg of your respect, and I beg for your love
For I can do it alone no longer.
Our people are suffering and time is running out.
You see I do need you, my black man.
But first I need you to love me.