The Afropunk in my Vunerability

Look at me 

In hopes that you see the Afropunk in my vunerability 

Every picture I would hold you close to me

No matter your mood

I would make sure to wake you up for school because no one was home to remind you

I told you to pack your basketball shoes

And to brush your hair because mom hated when your curls were all over the place

But I just liked when they were out of your face

Because I was proud

And I know she was hard on you because she wanted you to be the man of the house

And I can see you just wanted to be a kid, who sometimes forgot to do his homework and shit

But it sucked because i question in reality if our family was another statistic

No male figure in the home

or one emotionally or physically available

You cared for three women in the home all alone

God you were a sweet sweet soul

And I tried to protect it nurture it care for it

While I saw my mom trying to mold it and prepare it

I wanted to stop her and just let you grow,

I blocked with all my might but somehow she molded me too

Her strength braised with an Ivy League degree and a whole lot of pedigree to her legacies

But somehow she still got you to be what she wanted you to be

Similar to her, I, and her family tree a division one college athlete

Look at you now tho college ball player I couldn’t be more proud

And without the help of a man, I hope your manhood can be found

And I pray you know yourself and that you never doubt

If u need help know I’m here looking out

I know I can never be your father

And I know I crippled you by overcompensating

i worked long nights bartending

just so I can drop $600 on your birthday

Why? Because your dad didn’t do anything and I knew it would eat u up

So I tried to block protect and keep you close doing more way more than enough

Christmas birthdays every day it was clear I thought of u

even more than my own mother out of fear

Fear that there are things I can’t protect you from

Like those white men in uniforms holding a gun

(louder)But I’d lose my shit if they pulled that trigger

I already have it played out

how I would sneak into his house and steal one of his children off the couch

And torture them in a basement for years

And laugh while their pig ass daddy watches in fear

Because it’s an eye for an eye if they fuck with mine

But I’m so glad it has not happened because shit

Would get way too hot back in Camden

I realize there are some things I can’t protect you from

But I’m damn sure gonna try

(slower) And one more thing 

I know you hear me talk about this racist shit a lot

But I want u to be prepared

(worried voice)I want you to understand that these white people can't get the upper handle 

(worried voice)They will oppress you if you can’t recognize it now

You’re a fatherless black man in America it’s too dangerous for you to be out and open wearing your sweetheart on your sleeve

The most evil form of hate is out to see you bleed

But when u get the chance you show everyone that u can and you’re more than a statistic

Black culture be proud that you’re in it

because I’m proud I have you, I know you hurt a lot but I’ll always protect you

Strong little brother turned grown man, please know I always got you.


Do I really have him because I don’t think I have myself

Being black in a Public White Institution really fucking sucks

When I wear my athletic gear you stare and smile

Guessing what sport I play

But when I have on regular clothes you don’t even look this black girls way

I know vulnerability does not exist within our community

So I know I’m sharing our secrets but I can no longer hold them in

These white people in America don’t see us they see our skin

They don’t want us to be CEO’s of these stock companies

They just want that fast black athlete to play for their favorite sports team

So that young white boy lives vicariously through that black athlete

Bc the white boy knows his father cheers through the tv ….

wishing that could be his legacy ….

And that’s so sad to see

Bc that black man is a part of the nfl, nba, and mlb systems of slavery

And  they use our bodies

I don’t got you like I thought I did

I can’t trust these white people or a single soul

Cuz even on the streets the black people who look like me want beef

Because they see me getting a degree?

Or they see me looking at them and scream………. (PAUSE) what you looking at? (PAUSE) …….thinking I can see their pain

But all I see is the beauty that the white man cant

And the struggles in our communities

I get angry because they know my weakness in its entirety

Say the N word in your favorite rappers song and you’ll see another side of me

Why ?because that rapper looks like me


YOU don’t know the force behind “nigger” and it’s history

So don’t try me

But you do

and you push and push to try to suffocate us

Then I have to suffer and drown, while waiting for the white savior complex

In the meantime I try to go back to talk to someone who looks like me

But all I get is a broken community

And we sadly agree this shit is as fucked up as it could be

Hurt can’t heal hurt

But I draw from the person who looks like me because they can see my pain and whether they acknowledge it or call it out in a “what you looking at” kind of way

(SOFT) :At least the realized my body is noticeable

But sometimes they are too noticeable and we are called out

For sitting next to each other in a classroom what the fuck is that about

They don’t say that same shit to my white counterparts

Who are all in a row

I guess my body is too noticeable.

I don’t got you like I promised

LOUD: There is segregation in higher level education

There is segregation in higher level education

But it’s ok because they’re going to hear what we have to say anyway

I’m not here to acquiesce  to your white averageness every day

When I know we appreciate being here cuz we earned it

Sometimes I think about taking my professors jobs cuz I feel they don’t deserve it 

or maybe their bodies don’t I’m just observant 

I can teach say this shit with ease and without fear

Get it jumpin

While white kid sits quiet in the seat saying nothin

 But sometimes I say nothing too 

bc it’s not my fucking job to teach you

I’ll do it when I want to 

I’m fearless despite the system saying I should be scared

Been black racially profiled segregated and threatened

We all live in southwest is that really an accident

Because the shit looks just like the projects

And all the white people live in central and north

But they’ll make their way through the hood 

and to the stadiums to watch all the sports

Who can I trust here?

No one I say to myself in fear

But I’m more than a statistic so nothing will stand in my way

I will get a degree and move on from this one day

And get smacked around with the same shit in the real world

But I will remain strong because I have no choice

My ancestors fought hard for me

I have no choice

And plus I told my little brother I got him and I know he still hears that voice.


This poem is about: 
My family
My community
My country
Our world
Guide that inspired this poem: 
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 



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