My mind, made and built by image and experience, producing thoughts, turned to actions. Reflection allowing me the opportunity to see myself, I wonder how and who I really am.
Does systematic racism and disenfranchisement from birth to right-before-this-moment declare my value, or did it begin long before I was a thought, at the beginning of chattel slavery, through the passage of the boundary safeguards and restrictive laws in southern states?
Was it the rendering of powerlessness, even before I knew what power was, or maybe the impression that poverty leaves on my desires, like the whip or the abuse of my people, screaming at me to chance the slave catchers?
Maybe it was the “foster care” system, or the “juvenile delinquent” system I was sent into without choice or crime. It could be prison, where I sit today for parole violation, that has the possibility of becoming a death sentence as the “administration,” the executioners, gamble with my life.
Or is it my will to fight through and against all past, present, and future evils, my desire to be free, not granted the privileges that man or wealth or color of skin give, free like the wind, that can sate even the heat of the sun, and can also be a hurricane that can plow over all things in its path . . .
Whatever, whoever, and however I am, I AM, and as I sit here looking through these bars, listening to the coughs of those given COVID-19 by this facility, denied the clean air that can sustain them, denied rags to even clean with, I hear the silence of those we are pleading to “for an ear to hear, an eye to see, and a heart to sympathize” . . .
Yet, in this battered mind, I also hear I AM, despite hatred, attempts to oppress and repress, and sadly to even kill, I AM, and because I am after all attempts thrown at me, they have made me invaluable, because I’ve walked in and through hell, and I have seen, recognize, and can identify evil, in all its guises, I can be the voice that can expose you!
To those like me, who have suffered, have been oppressed and repressed by systems, whatever and wherever, of social injustice, those who sympathize, know this: WE ARE, and because we are, they are afraid!
A box turned sideways, with the lid barred, next to one exactly like it, stretching from 1 to 40, and that’s only one tier among five, bodies on the first 3 two by two’ed. With the other two imprisoning the youthful in single solitary caskets.
A rectangular hallway yawning the entire length, with caskets on one side, and windows stacked 5 high with wooden stakes hammered into the hinges of the highest one to ensure they can’t be opened.
The air whispering death, inhaled by the walking dead, who gasp and shout their desire to live, ignored by the mad scientist, who in the logic of the science of insanity, yells, “It probably won’t kill you.”
I lay in my casket wanting to believe that humanity will prevail, so I hold my breath, but I’m beginning to see spots, and my lungs are burning, so with tears in my eyes . . . I take a breath.
And I wait for the contagion, which signifies society’s consistent messaging: I, and those like me, don’t deserve to breathe!
From a cell, in a block, at R.G. & C.