Friday, October 3, 2008

will "it" register?


Swollen stomachs
Hold newborns in arms
And two year olds by palm
Daddies evaporated
Projects across the turnpike
She stands in front of me registering to vote
I hand her a slip
And I wonder if she knows she’s only a statistic
That our country is more in debt than deadbeat fathers
That there is no welfare in the rising of polls
No security in the ballot boxes
That this U.S. of A. is more jacked up than her 2 year olds matted hair
How we’ve combed through Africa and Iraq
But have yet to plait the misery of our unraveled citizens
I wonder if she knows her newborns eyes are brown like our real first candidate
If she knows her palms are the color of his other half
Or why the caged bird sings
Perhaps he is crying
Or shouting
I wonder if she knows there is no cage
Just boundaries
That she will not give birth
She’ll only be pushing numbers
Like she has been all her life
Census in her womb
Abortion # 5
Child # 3
Absent Negro # 2
Not including her own
Who left when she was four
I’m curious if she knows her children
Will barely scratch the surface
That the dirt under their fingernails
Implies they’ve already tried
That the blackness on new elbows and knees
Means they’ve been down there way too many times
I ponder if she’ll soak them in her tears
Exfoliate them with stories
If she’ll kiss strength into their cheeks
Blow on battle scars
And antiseptic on their wounds
Dab them as if they’ll die from paper cuts
Or heartbreak
Or broken promises
I ask her if she will tell them
That we are more than abbreviations and color
We are of full names
And raised fists
Sepias and maroons
More than jiggaboo’s, niggers, monkeys, and coons
I wonder if she’ll tell them that just because you have a black face
Doesn’t mean you have to dance
It only means you are beautiful
I wonder if she’ll teach them more than ooohhs and ahhhhs
If they’ll ever learn pronunciation
And enunciation
Like I am teaching her 2-year old
To say
Ba-rack Ob-a-ma
Meanwhile her mother
Writing numbers and checking boxes

I wonder if she remembers still
Why she’s here?

2 comments:

[Soul]iloquist. said...

Nothing I can say, but...WOW. Keep showing people why they should call you Riva. Kudos on the flow-etry.

Brad Collins said...

Just was floating around the blogger.com. This is a great piece. Keep up the good work.