minds hypnotized, stereotyped by violence –
HANDS UP, DON’T SHOOT
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
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
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
Tarringo T. Basile-Vaughan
Poetry @ 40