Black boy, White Spaces: An Unfinished Poem



Aaron, Dad, Alexis

We did not create our Blackness. It was imposed upon us . But we accepted it, and made it beautiful and now we love it.

Why is it so hard for them to do the same?


There is a part of me,
underneath the indignation and the pride,
beneath the bluster and the argument,
under the fight and the grit and the rhetoric,
that worries that this is just

That I am standing in the darkness
A lonesome, solitary figure,
howling half baked conspiracies
to world of disinterested strangers
Like a hermit listing his litany indignation at the moon.
I stand in this depressed darkness,
Worrying that the illness I battled back for years,
The madness that used to bounce off the cavernous walls of my skull
The ineffable, nervous insanity,
is growing inside me,
constantly pushing back against the brick walls of apathy–
barriers built of traumatic tuned gut reactions —
constructed over the years to keep the recklessness at bay.

Any moment I feel that I might slip,
Into the succulent abyss of psychosis.

I dread the moment when dementia is inseparable from reality
while simultaneously yearning for its sweet ecstasy.
Yearning for the warm, nearly maternal comfort of diagnosis
because I have much other fears too.

defused fears that grow in the unexamined emptiness of my subconscious
terrors that haunt the primordial recess at the core of my being:
the depths where emotions are felt in the body.

Fears that I’m afraid might shatter me if I examined them in the light.

unfathomably submerged,
unarticulated, and unsated,
I am paralyzed by the fear that I’m not crazy.
That it’s the world that is psychotic.
That it’s the world that is nearly nonsensical,
fueled by a cruel and only occasionally perceptible illogic
composed of massive structural mysteries beyond my comprehension.

I fear that my traumatic recoil is the safest reaction.

I fear that truly engaging in or with the world would burn away my soul
Leaving me the hallow shell of another Black boy torn asunder,
Burned by the unbearable Whiteness of it all.

There is a part of me that hopes,
beyond my hopes for peace and revolution,
beyond my dreams for family and love,
beyond needs for water and food-
a primal screaming visceral, ineffable, unsatisfied part of me-
wishes that I’m overreacting.

That the Whiteness is non malignant.
That these stares, and statements and statues are isolated coincidences
brought together by the misanthropic meanderings of an overly defensive mind.
That I’m overly sensitive to it all.
That 36 million Black bodies do not riel in this torture chamber called America
where Micro aggressions drip daily,
without rhythm or consistently discernible logic
onto our blood soaked foreheads


drip by drip

driving all of us,
stark raving mad.
I pray to every god I’ve ever known, every night that everyone of us is not shucking and jiving on the razor thin edge of white racial sensibilities hoping that enough of our culture drips from their lips as they consume us to be able to feed our children.

What God could have created a scale capable of weighing this much injustice?
What Divine metals could withstand the sheer tonnage of my oppression?

It is impossible.
I must be crazy.
I must have overacted.
I must apologize.

I must make amends
dance on the tip of their fragility
pretending that I like the music;
that the room is not built of bones of former slaves
in chains,
into the ocean for insurrection.

Pretend that what I’m hearing is really music
not a cacophony of beigeness
nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger
so melodically that I think its my name…

One thought on “Black boy, White Spaces: An Unfinished Poem

  1. Pingback: Strength Without Power | The Well Examined Life

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