American’t Nigga

Poet: Arisa Moreland-Woods of Butler University


Can’t sit

Can’t stand

Can’t sing

Can’t cross a street

Can’t walk in a store

Can’t run in a park

Can’t drive a car

Can’t sleep on a couch

Can’t play with toys

Can’t limp or slouch

Can’t live carefree

Can’t flee

Can’t speak outta turn

Can’t stay to talk

Can’t take too long to follow instructions

Can’t cover my head from the rain

Can’t knock on a door for help

Can’t crash my car

Can’t wander the Earth

Can’t wonder why

Can’t lie still

Can’t tell the world the truth

Can’t allow restlessness

Can’t cherish my youth

Can’t retire as I gray

Can’t soothe my baby

Can’t rejoice in parenthood

Can’t meditate

Can’t trust the police

Can’t believe in myself

Can’t confide in God

Can’t help my fellow man

Can’t cry

Can’t feel pain

Can’t mourn my children

Can’t overpopulate

Can’t move on up to the east side

Can’t stay in the hood

Can’t live ghetto fab

Can’t languish on welfare

Can’t sag my pants

Can’t wear cosplay

Can’t have a nice day

Can’t earn another life after death

Can’t serve a higher power

Can’t enjoy my childhood

Can’t grow up too fast

Can’t think I’m pretty

Can’t become too cocky

Can’t shuck and jive

Can’t pray to my Lord to save me

Can’t see myself on TV

Can’t surrender

Can’t sprout wings and fly away

Can’t kill the nigger and save the man

Can’t thank anyone enough

Can’t fall to my knees

Can’t hope

Can’t get optimistic

Can’t dream

Can’t

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