Black Boys

Location

In Baltimore,

We have lost 92 of our men

What’s stopping me

From being number 93

This poem is for number 43

 

Michael Mayfield

ROTC student,

And gifted baseball player,

His arm,

Was his rifle

 

Looking down his barrel

We never saw Michael’s pitch,

And Michael,

Never saw graduation

 

So I want to ask the bullet,

When you were sent rippling through his skull

What was it like to be in a museum of awesome for just a few seconds

And not have a name of who you were looking for?

 

Cause Michael was a soldier,

Taken by arms,

I wish my arms could hug him back into existence,

That our cries for him

Could flood the past

So Michael could wash up in the future

 

In Baltimore, we black boys

Know bullets

Like mosquitos

In Baltimore, opportunity does not call

For boys

With black skin,

 

And change,

Is only something we find between cushions

 

I realize, it is hard to escape what we have been placed into

Cause many of us are shooting for stars

With feet still shackled to the ground

 

We want to be wizards,

Make magic with our lives,

But are given heat instead

 

Unloading bullets into each other

Instead of knowledge

We black boys are given hoops dreams

To chase

Why can’t we ever escape the court

 

Maybe,

It’s cause they like to watch us play basketball

For how we have mastered the art of hanging in the air

They think that we got it from our ancestors

 

We wear chains rapped around our necks

Like we are trying to connect to our roots

 

Growing up,

My school told me they were trying to get us ready

For the real world

So why did the windows have bars on them

Like we were graduating to a life on parole

 

Maybe,

This is just a game of hide and seek with successful

 

But in Baltimore,

All I was taught was cops and robbers,

Those roses are red,

And violets are blue,

So are police lights

So run before they find you

 

Cause in Baltimore,

People watch The Wire

To understand our lives

But they don’t know a damn thing

About me

And the wire

I walk on.

 

 

 

 

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