Dedicated to the lives Nicolis Williams, Eric McWhorter & Kashief Cross
the hardest part about having a music box heart is deciding which melodies to play/ i long to hold 16 gigs and play every weeping willow ballad ever written, every riff and run of travailing prayer in your garden of gethsemane/ when you asked God to take the pain away, to remove this cup from your hands, i heard you/ and, if i could, i would take every cup from your hand/ take them back like shots of hard liquor, if it meant it would keep you from stumbling through this life in a drunken stupor of struggle/ let me be your drinking buddy/ i will match you shot for shot, treble clefts & half notes of sorrow until my heart is just as full, if not, overflowing-- i was created for this here—the other day, my heart wept for the lives of 3 young men I never had the pleasure of knowing in this life. They were friends of my sisters’. I could tell the caliber of men they were by the weight of their tears, I wanted so badly to mend their hearts, to apply pressure to their wounded spirits, hold them until they healed-- I am my sisters’ keeper. It is my job to unrealistically want to fix everything that was ever broken in them, everything that ever made them feel less than what they were called to be-- we were created to love each other. Created to build one another up but we don’t. & therein lies our weakness as a people. We are too strong in and of ourselves to love ourselves wholly. We don’t love the skin we’re in & so consequently we find it hard to love those that look just like us. Because we don’t love ourselves, we women shoot poison darts of jealousy & pride from our eyes then criticize our men for shooting physical bullets of lead & tin not realizing that the loss of trust & esteem between ourselves is synonymous with the loss of a physical life. We play this dark skin light skin game & then quickly blame the man for oppressin us. C’mon here, look at this-- Look at this pot callin this kettle black… We cut ourselves off from each other so easily & insist on doing bad all by ourselves but we just cutting off our own arms & legs. All this hate is is self-mutilation & so we walk around society crippled, walkin through this life with a limp & sway tryna get a handout from ppl that look nothing like us. See somewhere along the line somebody told us we weren’t beautiful. Somewhere along the line somebody told us we weren’t capable. They told us we weren’t worthy, told us we were lazy & ignorant & stupid & somewhere along that same line we started to believe them… & somewhere along that line it became our truth… & we began to tell ourselves that untrue truth… & we began to tell others this untrue truth on some “I aint neva gon be nothin & you aint neva gon be nothing either” type foolishness & we believe these lies.
But no… love hasn’t always been this unfamiliar to us, no sir… we have always excelled in love before we got to this place. If not for love 400 years of slavery would have wiped us out. If not for love we wouldn’t have made it through civil rights sufferings & movements & protests & the fight is still young so where did it go? When they turned those fire hoses on us 40 and 50 years ago did it dilute our hearts? Did it water down our spirits? Did they beat it out of us? Or is this our own doing? Are we beating it out of ourselves? Do we ciphen a little love out every time we stick a needle into our arms? do we lose it a little every time we sell a dime bag to our brother? Do we draw a little out every time we kill one of our own? Does it seep from our pores just a little every time we think hate towards a brother or sister we’ve never met? How did we get to this place here? At this point we can blame no other but ourselves. Can I submit to you that this self-hatred & self-loathing we try so hard to cling to is the very thing that is killing us? We are a suicidal people, are we not? I heard somebody say one day that if you want different results you have to change your method of operations, heard em say that the insanity lies in doing the same thing & expecting something different to come about see if we know better then logically we should do better so why don’t we? We deserve so much more than we allow ourselves. There are too many us dying today for us to wait until tmrw-- We’ve got to love on our brothers & sisters while they are yet able to receive it. Cain killed his brother out of a coldhearted ignorance that allowed him no remorse. Even colder was the attitude of sin that allowed him to make such an inquiry—am I my brother’s keeper?... & sadly the apple hasn’t fallen very far from the tree. We are a people desperately in need of reconstruction. Desperately in need of a de-evolution from this barbaric practice of hatred. Go home & kiss your mother, hug your father, raise our sons more like we raise our daughters- like love is not taboo, tell your brother you love him, hold each other accountable, forgive us of our wrongdoings, & then look in the mirror & wrap your arms around yourself, allow God to smile on us again, let love glow warm on this brown skin of ours. baby can’t nobody love us like we love ourselves… so if we not gon keep us, I ask you, who will?