Anmol is hosting dVerse this evening. The topic tonight is privilege. Anmol says:
You can approach the idea of privilege in different ways. You can either seek inspiration from these poets and their poems or reflect upon your own privileges and share them through a tapestry of images and metaphors along with a certain regard to what these privileges stand for in our society. You can also write about a cause which has personal meaning or significance for you — gender equality (women, transgender, and other non-binary identities), movements like Black Lives Matter & Me Too, uprooting class and caste divides, lgbtq+ rights, et al — keeping this one word in your consideration.
Last night I watched the documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro”, which is based on James Baldwin’s proposed book about the deaths of 3 of his friends and civil rights leaders, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and how each of them were murdered within 5 years time. The format of the movie was video clips of Baldwin himself speaking and mixed media with Samuel L Jackson narrating passages from Baldwin’s work.
My free verse poem is written from the perspective of Mr. James Baldwin, where no disrespect is meant, in that I could never see things from his perspective. It is written with sorrow and with love and admiration.
Update 2/20/19: I received excellent feedback from Sabio Lantz and Bjorn Rudberg on the format and content and decided to rework it in light of the feedback. The revised version feels more complete to me.
Update 2, 2/20/19: I’ve changed this a few times since yesterday. Now it is James, in an open message to God. It may change yet again, but here is its form for now.
God you’re a sick bastard, you know.
You gave me brains and a heart as big as the sky.
You saw fit to put me under the tender tutelage of a kind white woman.
Like a black duckling, I imprinted on her and flourished as the son of her white light,
Knowing that only later would I learn she was called race traitor,
hated by her own kind. That I would learn about the rest, rotten inside and out,
on a mission to erase us, keep our necks under their boots, or silenced, in the ghettos.
Each time I walked past the open caskets of the prophets who once breathed
to lead us from our terminal, relegated status of scapegoated other,
again saw the sorrow-drenched faces of their children, the anguish of their loved ones,
my wings weighed oh so heavy, as you know.
You knew what you had done to me. Knew I, now a raging black swan,
could strike them down with the laser beams in my eyes and words –
and knew if I did, no doubt, my blood would also soon stain balconies and carports.
These thoughts weighed heavily, as you know.
Then, my pen held steadfast and true, tempered with strange empathy for the monsters.
Sloughing the monsters’ burden from my wings, my sky-sized heart kept beating
with the blood of the dead – onward I flew, alive, my aim true.