Do not look to us for tears you say should tumble.
Do not become flustered when we say there’s no salt left.
Do not dictate how we should respond, though you’ve done it all our lives.
Not when wars we were born into rage on.
Not when 22 veterans still take the jump every day
lost, alone, and in such abysmal pain,
as most conveniently brush them to the forgotten space of the mind.
Not when melanin is justification for murder to a mind
poisoned by hatred, bigotry, and institutionalized discrimination.
Not when a trip in a car is enough to induce a panic attack
because those boys in blue do not always merit their slogan.
Not when good cops bear the mark of those consumed and poisoned by power lust.
Not when volatile cops close themselves to the phrases
“I can’t breathe.” “I am dying.” “Please stop!”
Not when our planet is ever disintegrating
so long as human is and wastes and burns
and pursues dreams on western frontiers
without thought of what’s left in the wake of that pursuit.
Not when the monsters of molestation and disregarders of dignity
sit silently or altogether roam free
as the heroines face slurs of shame,
because the burden of fault is placed on victims.
Not when science is ignored and children suffer
because a vicious doctor wants fame in place of the eradication of diseases.
Or ignored because privilege,
the factor overlooked by those who will not let it go,
allows some to bully professionals given the challenge of literally saving lives.
Not when “Freedom of Speech” is not for all,
when bullies with guns are justified
while peaceful kneelers are met with malice and hatred, for kneeling,
and Natives protecting their land are met
with slander, assault, rubber bullets, and arrest.
Do not ask us to cry in place of action.
We are so beyond that.
We will not give you tears to satiate your fears.
For change is upon us and we will not be denied.
We will not turn a blind eye
To our fellow human,
We will shout from everywhere that
BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL,
MELANIN IS MAGNIFICENT.
We will call out your vitriol,
We will say their names with the honor and grace
they earned by being human
that you refused to exhibit.
If we all say it loud enough, “He. Can’t. Breathe.”
Will you then unclog your ears and soften your heart?
We will not blame the survivors but pursue tirelessly the villain.
We will not allow privilege to go unchecked.
Those of us who own that privilege will let it be
blow after blow to a system so corrupt.
It will not make up for everything and certainly not for every life lost,
But the salt is dry and we are done being exhausted.
We are done making excuses.
We are done seeing our beautiful brothers and sisters,
assaulted, forgotten, murdered.
We are done watching our planet burn.
Beware, there’s no salt left and our appetite for change is insatiable.
For true freedom
For the victims of war
For the 22
For those who cannot fight back
For those whose voices are not heard
For the world we’ve inherited
In a most earnest way
For Ahmaud Arbery
For George Floyd
For every beautiful soul of color so wrongfully stolen,
For all children of color to take pride in their story
and unabashedly embrace the world without fear,
For our children,
To have, know, live better.
—A Fed Up Millennial