The Extinction

Poet: Kristopher James-Wilcox of Ball State University


When the jury announced that he was found not guilty,

we knew it was the end. We knew it was a matter of time

before it became open season for the rest of us. If it wasn’t safe

to walk home with a bag of skittles and an ice tea, we should’ve known

that-

 

selling CDs and cigarettes, failing to signal a lane change,

having a broken taillight, missing a front license plate,

holding a toy gun in a free carry state,

holding a wallet, going to a birthday party,

riding a train, walking home with a friend,

making eye contact, sitting in your car,

walking up stairs, calling for help after an accident,

attending bible study, laughing

or simply just living

was asking to meet our maker before it was our time.

 

Fox News treats us like criminals who got what they deserved,

keyboard warriors calls us every slur in the book, speak ill of us,

tell us to stop being so sensitive, while calling us the racists

for wanting peace and justice. We are hated for simply existing

and we are told to either deal with it or leave. We are constantly

reminded of our place, and how this is not our home, we are just

paying rent here. We protest peacefully; we are called a mob.  We

fight back; we are called savages. We speak out; we’re called melodramatic.

We sit down for an anthem we don’t feel applies to us;

we are ridiculed, belittled, dehumanized,

and threatened.

 

We have gifted amazing things to this world, and in return

we are paid in toe tags. We cringe at the sight of cop cars,

and our hearts stop when our ears drums are shattered

by sirens. Our hope melts away like our chocolate skin

every time one of us is surrounded by pine, and the

monsters who put us there are showcased as heroes.

We weep at the thought of a hate-filled hairpiece

running us out of the country

we built from Plymouth Rock to Ferguson

 

Tonight, at our last supper,

we will feast on skittles,

wash it down with ice tea,

raise our hoodies,

and sing

 

Now we’re walking down the street

We pray to the lord, hoping our souls won’t leave our bodies

And if we are stopped by the boys in blue

Pray they hear us cry, “Our hands are up, don’t shoot!”

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