To Be Black

i understand they say 

oh I feel you they say

but you can’t FEEL what it’s like to be on edge everyday 

drowning from the weight on my shoulders 

as I carry the bucket of tears that’s been passed down from generations and only manages to get heavier 

you DONT

understand what’s it’s like to fear for your brother 

your father 

and know you’ll have to hold on to that fear for your husband .... and son 

looked at as irrational for having that fear

just let it go...

but how can i let it go? when there are prison guards security guards causing me to keep my guard up 

my hands up 

and still expect for me to keep my head up.

expectations for me to not have certain expectations of people what 


does the past have to do with the future ? 


isn’t it the past that effects the future ?

that shapes the future ?

if not for your past where will you be in the future. 


when all we want is for everyone to forget the past and grow in the future 

but how can we grow if roots haven’t been planted ? roots placed from our history watered by the tears of my people. 


people who also carried this bucket. that now gathers more weight as I cry out everyday


for the lord to keep my family safe. 

forget the past ? but it’s holding me in a cool embrace. 


Here do you want to try my bucket out for size.  but fair warning before you do. just know that I lied because there is no try. 

as in there is no break to put it down even if you do feel like you’re about to drown... in the tears in the lies but as I am black 

I’ve been told my only choice is 

to rise 



what does it truly mean to be black ?

being black is being looked at in history class as the teacher presents “slavery is their only history class”

not knowing that slavery only disrupted our history. 

being black is working twice as hard for half the recognition so you do the math. four times as hard for the full recognition and maybe not even then. 

breaking backs. weeping out. wiping sweat that is dripping down. 

but not changing that for anything. because i know 

the color of my skin will bring me challenges but being black is facing those challenges and always conquering always rising from

those challenges as more and more are thrown in your face


being black is

teaching your kids 

what true strength is. 


is fighting to be happy

while they throw out words like crazy, lazy

and trying to brush it all away 

the pain the strain 

still trying to 


from a land that doesn’t truly want you here...


being black is knowing your beautiful

as those same points of beauty are pointed out as flaws from people around you. 

being black 

is swinging those curves and watering your hair that coils like the earth 

and knowing 

when you look in the mirror at your face 

that on your back you carry the entire race and

nothing you do will ever change 

the fight the drive and the courage inside 

it takes 

to be black.


Poetry Slam: 
This poem is about: 
My community



Thank you.


I really am left speechless after reading this. I have very few words but the words I do have, I am going to share with you. I want you to know that you are worthy. You are loved. You deserve. 


This poem was so touching. It put a lot into perspective, especially being a Latina/white female myself. I applaud your honesty and openness. 

Keep writing for us to read your truth and your story. 




Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741