The SMILE is a mask we wear
i tried to teach my sons what my parents
attempted to teach me
they tried to keep me safe
they did their best to warn me
there are rules, they said 
rules to be upheld
these rules unwritten 
these rules filled my head
these rules kept me in check
institutionally chained
these rules kept me sanitized with these rules
there was shaming and pain

keep your mouth shut
avert your eyes
hands on the wheel 
no moves that surprise
no fancy cars
no fancy clothes
learn your place
keep your disdain off your face
I played by the rules
I taught my kids
be polite, 
to follow those rules

smile when you are pissed
keep your hands where they can be seen
bring your anger home, 
don’t show your rage
in the streets
don’t run after dark
dress the right way
don’t walk in a pack
that guarantees 
you stay off the front page

the more polite I am 
the more that boots presses into my neck
my anger must be kept in check
gloriously sanitized
while your ill-will and hate
is fed like shit on a plate
the open hatred you display
the fearless way you name your disdain
I must swallow like a pill
as my words get stuffed in my throat again

to not be that angry Black bitch
I must keep my mouth shut
nod my head
shrink into your back room
well, here’s the news
I was never one to cower
I will no longer de-sanitize myself 
in the confines of my shower
in an attempt to keep you satisfied
when you are so damned wrong

the hot water cannot remove the staining 
of your words
the soap cannot cleanse
the rage that you provoke
I am choking to death every day 
on the anger I swallow
every time I go out

go do your work 
re-educate yourself
you are not better because you said
so get your fucking boot
off my god-damned neck
I will no longer “watch my words”
I will no longer fear your stinking jails
I will no longer allow you to define me as unsafe
my un-sanitized self you will meet today

with your guns, your privilege, your pale
I afforded you grace
the scriptures you used said that was my place
I suggest you not confuse me with the Holy
or use my race as some deep disgrace
my anger you will meet
I will walk on able feet
rather that sit and swallow that shit that you mete.

so step back slowly out of my space
you will not determine my worth
you will not determine my words
you will not write my script 
I will be heard
the fear is gone
the revolution has begun
you heard it here first

16 November 2015

2 comments on “UN-sanitized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s