I Write America


Art By Antwan Sargent, www.i-d.vice.com

Voices silenced;

minds hypnotized, stereotyped by violence –


the injustice of equality no longer paused on mute.


I write America

begging you to see, that even as an educated

black man the sirens of brutality still scream towards me.

At just the young age 12 police targeted my skin

not because I committed a crime, but simply

for being at the wrong place at the wrong time;

that was my only sin.


I fit the description – questioned

just because of someone’s fear and fiction.  I was accused of being

trouble even though I was not one to step outside

morality’s bubble.  I had dreams, but at that moment

I realized what hopes I had could be dashed

in a flash if that someone decided I was the one

that was the description; any chance of a future would’ve

been slashed.


I was presumed guilty, but what they never assumed

was my innocence, because I was –


I was just a child coming home from school;

A poetic dreamer who wasn’t even considered cool

I was a mama’s boy studying to find a way

to escape the inner city of poverty and rise up in a world

that was constructed to hold me down, but in their eyes

there was nothing I could say.


Now today as I look back I frown, not because I was accused,

but because I allowed that moment to abuse

the mission of my mind to achieve and the intuition

of my heart to believe; any goals I had almost drowned.


I allowed that moment

to temporarily halt my desire to be a somebody.


Luckily it didn’t shrink me down into a nobody,

but it could’ve —

and that’s what scares me.  So I write America,

not for your sympathy or even your empathy–

I write to give you an example

of why the lives slain on the streets


of why those suffering daily just to survive


of why dark skinned children in failed education

systems matter,


of why those who fall victim to the cycle of welfare dependence


and most importantly why Martin, Malcolm and so many other’s who

marched on the streets of civil rights lost their lives

so that today’s Black Lives could Matter…just the same.


I write America — to give the ink of courage and equality

a name.


Tarringo T. Basile-Vaughan

© 2016

Poetry @ 40

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply