Poetry Front Page

6:55 AM

This morning.
At 6:55am.
A womxn, black
	was executed.
After dropping
Her child off at his workplace,
A mothasistah
	was accosted.
Six hours and fifty-five minutes after midnight,
The morn opened up
	and dimmed in shame
	at the annihilation of
	an already
Ripped soul.
This morning.
A sista’ - 
In aisle 5 for rice and soup - 
Compared products for the most natural
	quinoa and kale mix Acme could offer.
Her focus was abrubtly
Interrupted by loud laughter
	gruff voices and
	spirited flirting 
	wrapped in buttermilk
	intonations
of carefree-isms that only paled colonizers could enjoy –
If only that sister knew.
Knew that the hardfloored food shop
Faintly transmitting Barry Manilow lullabyes
Was to quickly turn into a fight of wills
	where she would be 
Defeated.
Defaced.
	Dismantled.
	Damaged.
	Declined.
	Denied.
	Destroyed.
Yes, at 6:55 in the morning,
When lovers pleasure in fleshy hors d’oeuvres 
And babies cry out for rescue
And sister matriarchs adjust their hats for morning service,
Willie Lynch’s grandson – 
Juneteenth times removed –
walked down aisle 5
	where 
An unsuspecting Queen  
Would be slayed in her space.

She saw him coming.
The owner of the brash mouthpiece 
	that voiced-over Barry’s crooning.
Elmer Fudd-flapped hat
	shading un-manicured eyebrows. 
Brown eyes of indifference over a multi-colored gaiter
Dookie-brown Dickies jacket
Camouflage, flannel shirt
Blue jeans over polished-bright cowboy boots.
Whitey’s in the house gait.  
	Middle class white man with white sheet shadow – 
Good ‘ol boy.
30 seconds.
That’s all it took to know –
No eye contact would be made.
No fake pleasantries would be had.
Focus on the damn quinoa.
You’re alone.
Let’m pass…
When the coast is clear, get to the line.
Wait.
Somethin’ ain’t right, chile.
Whatcho’ self…
Great-grandma’s voice 
	gave a warning shot to her gut.
But before she could flee – 
 Good morning!
Silence.
Good ‘ol boy was behind her.
Did he forget about 6 feet?
Did he see the fuckin’ masked message?
	Black Lives Matter. Red and white lettering.
She returned the sentiment 
	with lead in her voice.
No welcome. Monotone dread.
The aisle turned into a shack in the back of Massa’s Big House.
He then positioned himself a foot away next to her.
Thinking back
His breath
	was sugary
	hungry with heat.
Oh, I thought they changed it! But it’s the same. 
Sistah fixed her eyes on the prices.
	Was there a sale she missed?
 She chuckled the words, “Umm, yeah…”
Like good Black folx feel due
	them for no reason.
Sweating
Scared
Shrinking
Seized.
Why?
Barry’s and shoppers’ voices and footsteps afar kept her company,
But she was alone in this shack.
I mean, they wanna take that girl off the Land’O Lakes and all that mess with the pancakes and syrup!  I mean, look, he’s just fine! Thank goodness they didn’t change it! 
Change?
Wait. What. Wait….Wait.
She was so fixed on quinoa and kale and yellow rice
	She didn’t see.
	Like on the auction block.
	Afraid to look away.
	Immobile.
	Fearing lashes
	Pain
	Death.
She looked where the pale finger pointed:
Uncle Ben.
Uncle Ben’s.
Fuckin’ Uncle Ben.

Blaqwomxn’s vision got blurry.
	Wasn’t no tears.
	It was fire.
	Heart-clinching, labor-pained
	Hand-squeezing intensity
	in wanting to take his life
	like his folks take pleasure in doing
	publicly.

Spit and carbon dioxide choked her into a yielding subject.
Nope.
Naw, kid, this ain’t happenin’…
Yo! Who the fuck is he talkin’ to?
But her lips clamped
Around the fatigue
	the toil
	the permanent injuries
	and the stillness of an infinite midnight
where she was looking at herself
	on a cooling board.
	Gone.

Seriously, we have bigger fish to fry! For Godsakes! 
She couldn’t move.
She
Reared by NYC bloodlines who stood with Huey and Bobby
Assigned to read The Autobiography of Malcolm X at 8
Taught to not trust whitey
Taught by them to hate self
Ridiculed by them at slumber parties as they parted her nappy roots
Broken by them when they framed her male seeds
Fucked by them every step of her way – 
She was paralyzed.
Anger refused to roar.
Her pain stayed in her gut like a held-in sneeze.
Her right got wronged.

So, in awkward silence
Good ‘ol Boy decided 
	His job was done.
	Another nigga’
	Put in their place
	In that shack
	Where he dicked her royally
	Completely.
	she liked it.
	That Indian liked it.
	Fat Mammy liked it.
			Uncle Ben liked it.
Because she had the right to remain silent. 
	And she did.
Have a great day! 
And with that he walked off.

That brokenspiritofasistah
Stood there forever.
Outlining Uncle Ben’s face
On a crisp box
	of bullshit.
All of this was bullshit.
A wolf in Good ‘ol Boys’s clothing
	won that day. 
Without a fight.
Emptied what was left of her
	With her gagging consent.
At 6:55 in the morning
She realized that not much has changed.
That even the strong become dumb and mute.
Get rattled and ravaged
Left for dead.

She turned Uncle Ben around.
He’d seen enough.
Of her failing him.

And she walked out the door.
	Without the quinoa.
	Without the kale.
Without her.

Image by Laura James

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Filed under: Poetry Front Page

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mothasistah is a black womxn extro-introvert, mother, sistah, follower, leader, blaq people appreciator - and too many more flavors to mention! After 25 years of teaching, she is following her first passion in communicating through hard-love wordology and speaking louder on equity imbalances that plague our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.