Melanin Stained Skin

Melanin Stained Skin

Jeraldyne Norman


Melanin stained skin

Everyone’s staring, glaring through me

Watching each and every step I take

Like a child who’s curious about her own shadow on a bright summer’s day

My mother, father, family

Grew up in times much worse than now

But why does it seem like nothing’s getting better

I know I was granted my 40 acres but

Why am I the mule working the land that my family was forced to work their entire lives?

Having to work twice and thrice as hard for something everyone should be able to have

Yet I still end up with nothing to my name

A name that will soon be forgotten in this place

That I was forced to build after it was stolen

Cleansed of any being with that melanin stained skin

Skin that matches all tones of the earth

And here I am now, still working for the man who’s 

too lazy, too pompous, too good to get his hands dirty 

in fear of staining his skin of the dirt and blood of people like me

Too easy for his own skin to become stained like mine

Like those who were killed off

Like those who were forced from their homes, separated, and raped.

Only to be given false promises of equality 

Separate but equal, separate but equal

I guess we were equal with our run down schools, tattered clothes, and rusty water fountains that matched our

melanin stained skin

but like y’all say, somebody like me doesn’t belong here since we didn’t take part in co-authoring history

Where is the love? 

Oh? You love my food? You love the way “we” dress? You like my music? 

Why am I seeing bits and broken pieces of myself all over you yet you push me to the side like you’ve just stepped in dog shit

When will I live in a society where I will feel comfortable walking out of my door?

When will the day come for me to not worry about any 

person of color coming out of a confrontation alive

Help me! Help me truly love myself! 

Help me to love my lips, my mannerisms, my butt, my everything before I see it in the next fashion magazine or at the forefront of the next big trend

I want to love every nook and cranny about myself, I yearn for the day that I don’t wish the scrub my skin of the melanin that continues to stain it

Because as much as you tell me that I’m beautiful, as much as you tell me that my vernacular is flawless, as much as you tell me that I am are worth being here,

I will never believe you, I’ll never believe in the false promises of my so-called home

Not until we stop telling ourselves, no not until you stop telling us that all we need to do is white out our flaws

Maybe the stains on my skin will disappear after the next cleansing of our nation. 



This poem is about: 
My family
My community
My country
Our world


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