South End Stew: Our World Is Crying

by ChrisTiana Obey

 

One:
When I wake up in the morning, and I greet my white husband
When I lay in bed
and wait
for my body to tell me if this is a good day
or a muscle relaxer day
When I remove my cap,
pink and silk
and shake out my kinky curls
When I turn on my bathroom sink
and I immerse my hands
into the water
so hot and soothing.
What a privilege.

When I shift through the pile of shirts
to find the right one
that makes me look
professional
That makes me look
safe
That makes me
fit in

When I pray to God
that I make it home tonight.
When I pray
I don’t end up as a story
on the nighttime news.
When I pray
my life
doesn’t cascade into nothingness
Like dominoes,
dismantling
tumbling
perfectly
from spark to finish
From a routine stop
to “Hands up, Don’t shoot”
to blood pooling on the ground
to “They should’ve just cooperated”

The genetic expression of my ancestors manifested perfectly in a vessel
holding
a spirit of love
Peace
Empathy
Understanding
Longing
But seen as a melanated dirge
to dominant culture
white culture
who brands me
as Trash
Lazy
Threat
Danger
Animal
Inhuman
All the while,
writing a storied falsehood
about my people
But somehow I make it through because
I “Sure don’t act Black.”

The path to inclusion
A concept needed
to understand my complexity
My Brown skin
and it’s fit in White America
A harsh reminder that
Books and discourse
about identity
is needed to talk
to someone like me
For cultural awareness
For acceptance
For equity
For humanity
An instruction manual for complexity
Complexity beyond the Able-Bodied, Privileged
European immigrants
who somehow became the authority
over the rest of us

Posession is 9/10ths of the law
Unless you have the power
to change
who possesses what
Regardless of pre-existence
A time and culture
of “This is mine now.”

Two:
Our Broken World
Long in disrepair
Fighting,
arguing,
accusing,
feuding,
violence,
vitrol,
hate,
hurt
Infection
Spreading
from coast to coast
Like a weeping wound
Running over
into our water,
our oil,
our flora,
our homes
And as the rich, red blood falls
from our body to the floor
So does our humanity flee
from our person
Absorbed
into the universe

The universe
To whom our brothers and sisters
and everyone in between
Prays for harmony
Just to live
without prejudice
Without oppression
Without marginalization
Without discrimination
Just to live
in peace
Our broken world
Buckling
under the weight of our transgressions
Burdened
by the heaviness of our hearts
Lost
in the depth of our sins
Like an abyss
Swirling torrents of torment
persuading our lives

Deeper and deeper
we fall
with ignorance
and hatred
We seek the light
But it cannot shine
Not now.
Not Here
How can we expect illumination
when we’ve removed all the windows?

We fear difference
but we’re already different
We denounce diversity,
but we’re already diverse
We abhor change,
but we’re constantly changing
We preach scarcity,
but we,
ourselves,
are a scarce and fleeing entity
We defer to laws,
but we’re lawless
We reference our morals,
but where is our morality?

Our world cries
It is sick
It is feverish
It shakes and convulses at the action
of it’s inhabitants
Perhaps it wonders why
we must destroy it
and ourselves
Perhaps it thinks about ridding itself
of us
Like body lice
Nefarious,
parasitic,
and easily removable
Perhaps the Great Flood was the world bathing
Cleansing itself
of the persistent itching
that accompanies
irritation
and abrasion

Our world is crying
Do you hear it?
Or are you deafened
by the constant chatter of the media
Affirming our division
Discouraging unification
Harmony
Peace

Our world is crying
We soothe ourselves
From the mouths of politicians,
flawed systems,
discriminatory institutions
It’ll be OK
It’ll be OK
Nevermind
the grieving tears of the world
It’ll be OK

Three:
Keep hope ever alive
Because there are those of us
Who’ve heard the world’s plea
Who feel it’s strength
buckling under the weight of our actions
Who wishes to bring harmony
and peace
For everyone
Not some
Not part
Everyone
For those old and young
For those sick and healthy
For those poor and rich
Across religion
Across gender
Across race
Regardless of ability
Regardless of fallibility
Regardless of origin

Because there are those of us
Who have been fighting
Who will continue to fight
Who will not rest
until equity becomes equality,
and equality
becomes an ancient endeavor
Because why would we need multicultural competence
in a world who is already competent?
Why would we need cultural awareness
in a world who is already aware?
Why would we need to fight for acceptance
in a world that is already accepting?
Why would we need to demand inclusion when we’re already one
Unified
The All Lives Matter folks of the world today would not exist in that world

Because why would we need to remedy
a problem that no longer exists?
Perhaps we may never see this world
in our lifetime
Perhaps our children
will need to continue our fight
Hopefully our grandchildren
only need to deal with our remnants
Hopefully our history books will reflect
on our generation
incredulous of our savagery

Because there are those of us
Who will never stop fighting
until hating someone
for their identity
is a distant,
painful legend
The moral of a cautionary tale
Where children learn about
the damage
we can do
The power
we have
The mistakes
we’ve made
The time
We’ve lost
The progression
we’ve reversed
The peace
we’ve shunned
Out of nothing
but spite
for our earthly family.

You know,
they say you can’t live your life
in a vacuum
But that is precisely
what the world is
A finite foundation,
sealed by a combination of gas
and magnetism,
separating us only by bodies of liquid life
Essentially,
we’re roommates
Sharing and living
with the same possibilities for survival
in this vacuum
as the rest of the inhabitants
At least,
in an incredibly optimistic,
theoretical existence

But the possibility exists
for that theory to become reality
And we will continue fighting
And we will continue praying
And we will continue loving
And we will continue educating
And we will continue accepting
And we will continue collaborating
And we will not stop
until there is no more oppression
Until there is no more division
Until the world is soothed
from it’s hurt and pain

Because there are those of us
Who know they don’t have a choice
anyway
Whether it’s due to marginalization
or ethical necessity
Whether they are the target of hatred,
or have an intense hatred
of hatred
Whether they are the hunted,
or those who wish to shield the hunted

We must act
In love and solidarity
We must act
So I’ll ask you again
Do you hear the world crying too?


Painting: Out Of This World by Daniel Nadeau

 

2 thoughts on “South End Stew: Our World Is Crying”

  1. This is incredible. You are sublimely talented. Yet another of your articles has touched my core. Love you Christiana. You see the big picture, thank you for sharing your wisdom with us all.

    Like

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