we are born on death row in monroeville
hope valley, the south side of chi
the contents of our character: civil wars
that makes us sick. head, heart, memory
cancerous cages of our own & others making
only we do not profit. new old feudalism.
prisons bred on third grade test scores
of black & brown boys, dead, chattel
or lost by 12. stumbling home in different
direction. sitting all day thinking about
your last day alive. so many wars we endure.
we live on death row on the evening
news, highways, stereotypes, before trials
the contents of our character: a congregation
of southern niggas dancing from pine trees.
sky an escape route, a musty prayer, a cloudy
truth. hope stutters like emmett. like terrance.
like walter. caskets before their birth. corpses
walking the block. bama heat a burning cross.
confederacy of venom. legislated hate. system
of babylon. got work and no work. work
harder nigga. work harder.
we don’t have to stay on death row. arc
bent toward justice. malcolm scott spirit.
the contents of our character: bryan
stevenson, clara luper, dr. king, el-hajj
malik el-shabazz. a bond that defies science
& reason. melanin our magnitude & fight.
we are all we have.