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#SuiteReality ©2016 TS Hawkins

©2016 TS Hawkins
photo courtesy of Tieshka Smith & Racism Is A Sickness

say her name
the little brown bubble of joy
that coos at her toes
loves the color red
drinks chocolate milk exclusively from a curly straw
who dances on her daddy’s size 10s
plays in mommy’s hair
eats nana’s pancakes
before skipping to school
but never to return home
because somewhere between the first period bell
and sound of sneakers racing over linoleum 
bullet stains find Dory saturated on the back of broken promises

say her name
the coco cutie
that some say is too grown too fast
her straight “A” mid-drift always half the conversation
at sixteen
she speaks two languages and often misunderstood
her soul; the half breed of hip-hop and opera
score her scholarship necessary to
write love poems to her soon come lover
while being a strophic soubrette for her moms’ on mothers’ day
but this upcoming May
the aria she penned on her heartstrings
falls on mute wings
because somewhere between text messaging
and the click of the lockers concluding the day
three boys stripped the remains of her naïveté
through bathroom stalls and gasps for help
the replay; too much to endure
across her wrists
she composed her final ode

say her name
the mahogany maven
adored by few; abhorred by many
with no nonsense whit; a fork vexed tongue for the masses
was told she made a mistake
somewhere between waking to morning
and knowing her worth
Papi Edwards
India Clarke
Sandra Bland
London Chanel
Ty Underwood
Yazmin Vash Payne
Kandis Capri
Penny Proud
Amber Monroe
Tanisha Anderson
Aiyanna Stanley Jones
Yvette Smith
Miriam Casey
Shelly Frey
Darnisha Harris
Malissa Williams
Alesia Thomas
Shantel Davis
Rekia Boyd
Sheresse Francis
Tarika Wilson
Kathryn Johnston
Alberta Spruill
Kendra James
Maya Young
Skye Mockabee 
Korryn Gaines
Deborah Danner
muzzled by privilege and power
regulated to happenstantial hashtag
she, the nation’s marrow
yet, the blood of her purpose streams thin
muted in the tickertape of a movement
bludgeoned and battered
abused and benign 
relic souls plea for no more

the curve of the spine
no longer capable of serving as whipping boy
splayed in master’s delight
salted marrow;
seasoned root rotted legacy bears a mother’s milk of strange fruit
stillborn sons and decadent daughters dangled in the right light
taste freedom at the base of severed throats
leaving blood in the water
like sipped tea on the transatlantic exchange
understood solely by bookend legislation
middle passages of destitute confusion
draft remnants of hope into one’s veins
yet, the prodigal eye gazes back never
settling for censored sight
the melanin of power melds to mass mediocrity that decry the sails of change
discount diversity oozing from their mouths
wiped dinner napkins stained with your name
dictated through your DNA
recitation reach unknown…

how would it feel
to always have my name in your mouth
delectation on your tongue
soothing safe spaces between your gums
burrowing placated pleasantries that fricative against
a crooked smile
but never grazing your lips?

how would it feel
having my truths titillate your tonsils
trickle your tainted throat
coating the oppressive gutter speak used to malign my presence
lining the intestines that revile me due to ignorance
insatiate belly craving my acceptance?

how would it feel
knowing you’re deaf and dumb
to the reach of sanctuary solely at my helm
weep and moan for solace seasoned to my taste
lapped legislative laymen hounding for seconds
with you begging for a whiff of hope?

this, is for white folk
who find folly in blackness
who profit and manhandle humanity due to hue
who plunder and pillage
who choke at apology
yet privilege off of despotic democracy
who seldom say a word for justice
but bank on brown silent resilience!


  1. Such incredible work, as always! Cross-posted to!!


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