Sep 21
poem challenge: BLM

We Say We Care, When We Forget

Police are coming,
Sirens wailing.
The white man stands tall, unafraid, defiant.
The black man flees in the shadow.
Because the white man knows he will leave in handcuffs,
but the black man knows he will be left on the ground,
blood flowing from the bullets that penetrated his black skin.

We praise the white man,
"A good man!" we say, "At least he owns up to his mistakes."
And yet we blame the black man's instinct to flee
as a result of their cowardice and culpable heart.
The white man has made an error in judgement,
the black man is a criminal who deserves his disdain.

And then George Floyd was killed.
May 5th, 2020.
Eight minutes, forty six seconds.
Half the time of Martin Luther King's speech, I Have a Dream.
All of America turned over.

Or so it seems.
"Black Lives Matter!" we cry,
We blame our racism on our uneducated ancestors.
We say we will change.
We say we understand.
We stomp the streets, putting on a show.
And yet we forget.

We forget Trayvon Martin.
We forget Mike Brown.
We forget Tamir Rice.
Do not search up these names
so you can pretend to care
the next time they come up.

And we will forget that Black Lives Matter
the second it stops becoming a trend
the second social media isn’t filled with black images
the second riots become “unimportant” peaceful protests
the second you see a group of black men hanging out in the narrow alleys

We put on a mask of compassion.
A mask as insignificant as the color of our skin.
We say we understand
when we do not know what it feels like to be stared at with contempt.
We say we will change
when we have not.
Children in kindergarten are still being told, 
"Whiteness means light and purity.
Darkness means shadow and hatred."

We say we are colorblind.
But even if we were,
we could still see the difference
between light and dark,
for even a black and white picture
cannot cover the racism that stains our minds.

Is it true, really?
Is it true, that the darkness of your skin
will slowly grow through you like shadows under a setting sun
and throw a cold tendril over your heart?
Is it true, that your black skin is like a disease
that should be shunned away and untouched?
Is it true, that you deserve to be stepped and spat on,
because your ancestors grew under the sun,
working to keep their family alive?

Police are coming,
Sirens wailing.
The black man stands tall, unafraid, defiant.
The white man flees in the shadow.
And yet no one will praise the black man
for owning up to his mistakes.
the white man will still leave in handcuffs,
and the black man will still be left on the ground,
blood flowing from the bullets that penetrated his black skin.
About the Author: Moonsand
“I can’t just say ‘cheer up’ no matter what. But in the midst of all that difficulty, try to find that small happiness.”