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A poem by Rasheem Muhammad, age 17

Rasheem Muhammad.Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

Shackles and chains leave brains enslaved as the waters of oppression drench the flames and quenches the thirst for gas inside the hearse carrying a coffin containing bodies of blackness

But this was not the result of a natural disaster but of a greedy thief who calls himself a master brutalizing our fruitful minds by denying the right to try crushing our efforts to close the divide and for that struggle alone many of us have died jamming us on a boat and raping us of our pride stripping it away until everyone can see our insides

So if you think that our struggle has gone away that is a deadly illusion to which you have fallen prey


An illusion that tells you everything is okay one that binds our legs and slows our pace deceived by paper dreams and a smiling face killing each other for someone else’s sake racism as we know it has lost its shape no longer a strong right hook but a fast straight aimed to shake our brains and make our knees quake while they prepare to pull back that slide squeeze and then scream freeze.

And while they say when we March down the street with our hands up that we are just screaming with bad intentions what can they say to my grandfather who was forced to eat in the the kitchen it was food he made if I forgot to mention what can they say to those scared of fake ghosts coming to lynch them or those afraid of a fat man with a tiny 9mm ball itching and ready to pitch it and when it hits someone and they die while their mother is screaming why he will look her in the eye and still won’t admit it

And what can they say to those of us over there pestered by privileged hands asking to touch our hair or wondering why we can jump so high in the air or to look at a month in celebration of everything we have had to bear and still have the nerve to say that it’s not fair while they watch our body count rise without a care and they still wonder why we talk about despair.


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