The Weight of Oppression as I Stand Watching
I stand watching my people.
Some of us so weighted down we couldn’t get up even if we tried, while others drag their heavy forms with us as we keep moving towards the Beloved Community.
Barely stumbling and staggering, afraid to let go of what is left of us. Afraid to leave behind what may just be the beating heart of us.
Beating so fast with the drumming of change, barely tapping, they’re so tired of trying to keep up.
Some we leave lying in the path.
They can’t go on, so we covered them over with the guilt we sewed into quilts of rage, oppression, and shame.
Determined eyes latched on a prize just out of reach.
Jumping, running, rubbing the sweat from our brows, thinking...the road is easier
The load is easier
To carry me on to that Promised Land.
I’ll come back for you when I can
Never looking back at my tracks.
Muddied by blood and tears
Each step an inch closer to the prize
Hidden in plain sight of
I stand watching my people.
Some of us crabbing in buckets of conformity, drowning in self-imposed misery, chained to anchors forged on ships bound down with the weight of human cargo.
Swimming against a heavy tide of misidentified history.
Burdened by the sleight of white men and women who turned deaf ears and blind eyes to who we really are.
Some of us newly aware of that fact.
The heavy price we already paid, still being paid, to remove the stains of rusted chains forged in burning flesh
Broken bodies sewn together by racism, greed
Trying to break rusted chains
Bloody threads, threadbare swatches
We all stand watching as the fabric of our society unravels faster than we can mend the rips in wounded flesh; reload the next round, chain the next soul
My eyes will not close
Upon the vision of blood in the street
Trampled into mud under uncaring blue feet
Goose-stepping in time to
A weighted down beat
Some of us are so weighted down by the oppression of the ages we couldn’t rise if we tried.
I got scars that run so deep they have taken root.
Tendrils cutting through my soul
Becoming embedded in my being
The root begins to grow, diving down
Deeply entangled in depths untold
The root sprouts
Seedling growing, spirals up towards a fabled, unbelievable light
Leaves opening, taking in sustenance
Sweet, sweet air
Freedom from the soil and toil of earth-bound roots.
Branching out, swaying in the summer breezes, windswept canopy casting shade
Rings around my lifetime
Seeding a lifeline
The root spreads unbidden
Rich black womb of my mother nourishing my children, generations born from a single seed
Rooted in history
I wear the scars of my roots upon my back, sliced into the bark of me, sapping my strength
My seeds stolen
Thrown away for green leaves pressed from the pulp of my wounds as they cut me down to build upon my stumped-out shell
Roots lie hidden
Centuries of being cultivated trimmed and shaped unrecognized as deeply grow the roots
Of my oppression
A seedling breaks free
Soil scatters, light batters
Leaves newly formed
My roots embedded in universal earth reach up into my soul from which they were birthed
Raising welts I thought at first
Scars that would never heal
Revealed my roots, secure as treasure long hidden
I wear my scars like armor
Protecting my roots from all harm
Raging with life unfathomable
My roots run deep indeed