Mississippi Neck Tie

Poet: Khristopher James Ross-Wilcox of Ball State University

I’m tired of the lies you’ve built around yourself like a fortress

You choose to be ignorant and then blame me for being angry

You bask in the misery of me and mine, then dismiss it like our sorrows don’t matter or exist

I am so sick and tired of being sick and tired.

You tear me and mine down, categorize us, stereotype us, and have the nerve to say, “Well I sure miss the old days. Weren’t the 50s just swell?”

You ignore history, like a failing junior in high school, and it’s time someone fact checked you like a politician who’s been caught with their foot in their mouth

First you stole me away from my home and culture

Ripped away my name, identity, humanity

You bound my body as you forced your god upon me, saying in HIM I would find serenity

You “set me free” just to enslave me to Jim Crowe

You kill my children for sport, because you’re bored, because you are filled with entitled hate and rage, yet you walk free without punishment

Now I have to pray to the god you gave me, in hopes that in death you will face HIS judgment, because in this world you’re bulletproof

And your god’s heaven forbid you have a badge or a gavel

How come the American dream doesn’t apply to me and mine, but it applies to those who want to, “Make America Great Again.” Great for who?

How come you can wear the flag of traitors, and call it pride, but my son wears a hoodie and never makes it home

How come you can rape my daughters, but my son allegedly whistles at yours, so you cave in his skull

How come your cult of hate and ignorance can rule the south for 150 years, walking free with police protection, but my children’s public services of protection was seen as a menace, shut down by the government after only 16 years.

How come if I protest peacefully me and mine are thugs or a mob, but when you threaten to kill and shoot cops on sight, Fox News calls you heroes?

How can you call me and mine lazy when you sailed across an entire ocean just to make me and mine do your chores for 400 years

You want me and mine to shuck and jive, and “give you that hotline bling,” as you treat black lives as if they don’t mean a thing

Because when I cry #BlackLivesMatter as they’re killing my children in the street, and I want people to understand that my sons’ and daughters’ lives are just as important as yours, you reply by saying fuck you, call me a racist and say all lives matter, as you contradict yourself, choosing not to understand my plea

How come the first time one of my sons becomes president, I have to worry about him being assassinated before he even makes it to the white house steps…. “My fellow Americans”

How come my sons and daughters always feel less than, even when you try to compliment them?: “You know, you are really cute for a black…”

How come my sons are scared for their sons and their sons are scared for them

Why when I cry pain and of wrong doing, you shout quit whining, toughen up, and spit in my face.

Why when I cry freedom, you shove a pistol in my mouth

Why when I cry injustice, I get whipped

Why when I cry equality, I get lynched

This is “the land of the free,” but for who, not me

And then you tell me and mine to go back where we came from, but NEWS FLASH, mine have never been and don’t know home, but you’re the one who brought us here in the first place, which makes your demands all the more ironic

Since the day we crossed paths, all you ever gifted me with was chains, whips, black eyes and Mississippi Neck ties

This history lesson is my gift to you

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