Can We Have Your Attention, Please

I Dream Of Love

 

A sentence, cut short of the period

This can’t be happening, when did life get so serious?

We ask why, how Lord is this real?

Somebody hear me, I just don’t know how to feel

This time.

My fists, clenched so hard my palms are a bleeding

Anger is the bitter fruit I’ll be eating

 

This time.
No more words I want justice.
This time.
We demand penance not legislation
This time.
I’m all out of pennies
I don’t wanna hear your thoughts I want my best friend back
This time.

 

Preacher, you better start preaching

‘Cause I’ve got a bad plan and no one will be winning.

‘Cause this time

The gun and grave took what was mine

I’m scared all these prayers won’t hold my pain back

 

This time.
No more words I want justice.
This time.
We demand penance, not legislation.
This time.
I’ve spent all my pennies
Keep your thoughts to yourself, give me my sweet son back
This time.

 

Catch me someone, quick, I’m falling.

Into the black.

I just wanna have my baby girl back.

I can’t feel no more, I’m dry Lord

I need me some grace, so their memory won’t die

 

This time.
No more words I want justice.
This time.
We demand attention and not your missions
This time.
It’s cheaper to go for a walk than buy an airplane ticket
Ain’t our community worth a mention
Sorry we ain’t poor enough to get your attention or your video
Just like them, we want our children back too

 

So are you gonna do

 

This time?

 

[Poem #76.  Photograph taken by toddwshaffer via Compfight and a Creative Commons License.

Authors aside:  This poem was inspired by my friend Sarah Moon’s remarkable article about the deplorable shooting of unarmed 17 year old Trayvon Martin, which you can read more about here.

This tragic story reminds me of Amadou Diallo, who was shot 41 times, unarmed, in front of his apartment building, by four plain clothes police officers in 1999.

It also scratches this question I’ve been pondering of why is it easier to pay our attention to other countries, yet it’s quite difficult to walk through our own neighborhoods and see where we can meet a need.

If you would like to help the family of Trayvon, click here.  I signed, and I hope you will too.  Thanks.]

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2 Comments

Marcus

I followed this from Sarah’s blog. I think I get it now; I just no longer get it. I’ve lived in Finland for a year and a half, and I don’t think like an American anymore. I think about this issue the way I do because I’ve been out of the culture for too long.

It was hard enough to understand while I was there. I’m a Quaker. Peace and social justice is kind of our niche. In the spirit of that, I tried to shield my own son from it.

I forced myself to find other ways to describe people other than their skin color to him, to see how and when he would learn the difference. It was sure to come out at some point, there was no avoiding that. Someone was going to tell my son that he was white and that other kid is Mexican and that other one is black, but he wasn’t going to hear it from me.

It helped me a lot with the issue in myself, too. It’s so easy to refer to a stranger by their race before noticing anything else, and it’s a sad thing. So when I would introduce my son to people, I would call up other things. It worked for a long time. From him, there was “the guy with the rough hands” and “that guy with the really big smile” and “the really tall one that always wears red” and “the guy with the braided hair.”

A couple of months after he started kindergarten, he innocently popped the question: “why is his skin so dark?” All I had to do was point out to him that my skin is darker than his and his moms, that our neighbors across the hall have tanner skin, and this guy’s skin was just dark. It’s just how God decided we should be so we don’t get bored seeing the same type of people all the time. He was satisfied with that and never brought it up again.

A couple of months later, I heard him use the word “black” in reference to another person for the first time. I fought the urge to ask him who taught him that. I felt a little kick in my chest when I heard it. Probably at school, I gathered.

But now that we live here, it’s fallen out of use again. I play music at the international church we attend, and once again he refers by people by something other than the color of their skin. When I had to tell him our Nigerian friend, Ayo, had passed away, he remembered him as the guy who always shook his hand and ran the computer at church.

I just helped play the music at his funeral today.

There is so much anger wrapped up in this, and I have been so long away from America, I had forgotten what it was like to be among people where it matters so much, this skin color thing.

And I ache for you.

May God bless us that we can finally do away with this demon.

God bless Trayvon’s hurting family.

Reply
Jermaine Jay Lane

I hear you Marcus, I really do. My hope is that we will all embrace each other with love and acceptance, because we all belong to one race: human. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend that passed away.

I think about how the world will be when my 7 month old daughter grows up. Hopefully, it will be a better place.

Stay strong man and blessings to you and your family.

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