“In My Lifetime,” A Poem By Judy C. Andrews

By Judy C. Andrews

The poem In My Lifetime:

In My Lifetime

I have seen the Sixties

as a child

 

Danced until the sun’s brilliance

performed streams of light

into my soul

during the Seventies

 

Graduated in the Eighties

with prestige that floated

on the backs of African Kings

Queens, Princes, Princesses

 

Affirming actions

that lifted me toward glass ceilings

and corporate strife

and I fell

a few times before

 

I found myself staring

socializing into the eyes

of PCs, Androids, and Facebook

 

That brought me to sadness

one day in 2016

scarred my dreams

swallowed my prestige

nibbled on my success

 

Flashed nightmares across my screams

for the souls of

African American

Kings, Queens,

Princes, Princesses

fighting a demon named

Police Brutality

 

It was not my first time.

 

I woke up crying

on a sun-filled day for

Philando Castile

Alton Sterling

Sandra Bland

Eric Garner

Freddy Gray

Michael Brown

Tamir Rice

Trayvon Martin

Walter Scott

Sean Bell

Laquan McDonald

Amadou Diallo

Elanor Bumpers

13 disciples

 

There are enough names

to fill one thousand volumes

all titled

Black Lives Do Not Matter

 

I couldn’t sleep for two quiet weeks

when thunder slammed into

Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas

A hot summer/2016

 

An inferno of hate

exploded

intensified

trumped my spirit

fell into my heart

and left it weeping behind those

Georgia Oak trees

that still protect

my soul

 

A swamp of madness

erupted inside me

 

It was just like fire

burning in my soul

 

I found myself

genuflecting for hours

asking Her

Will there be a fire next time?

Will I explode?

 

In my lifetime

I have not had much

to complain about

 

I was that child

dancing in the brilliance of

Civil Rights

under a stream of

Affirmative Action rainbows

living the dream

of an African American King

 

In my lifetime

I yearn to dance in the brilliance of

a chant:

Black Lives Matter!

with no apology to others…

 

I yearn to dance

in the essence of

gratitude for Obama greatness

with no apology to others…

 

I yearn to dance

with no apology

for the color of my skin

the texture of my hair

the slant of my eyes

the brightness of my teeth

the swag of my step

the courage of my ancestors

the future of my descendants

the light in hearts of darkness

 

No more apologies to others

for honoring the contributions

of African Americans

who shed tears, blood, and sweat

in the face of profound horrors

 

while speaking an old language

named Gun Violence

and a creole/patois/pidgin

named Police Brutality

and an English language

named Racism

 

Let America learn

a new language:

Black Lives Matter

without asking why

or adding a modifier!

Judy C. Andrews is a journalist, educator, member of The Harlem Writers Guild and author of An Ocean of Jewels. www.blessedbrown.com

 

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