As I lie here in the middle of the street,

My thoughts drift to you

I wonder what you’re doing, if you’re happy, and if 

you found someone to replace me

Replace me…..

That’s what you’ll be doing

Replacing me for someone to make new memories with

You’ll go on to live happily ever after,

But I won’t

For me, there is no one else

There is no more life

Soon a car will come up the street going too fast

The driver will be just leaving the bar and shouldn’t be behind the wheel

They won’t see me changing my mind and trying to get up

By then it will have been too late

And as I lie there in my final moments, my thoughts drift to you again

I pray that when you see this on the news you will finally think of me

I pray that you’ll be filled with visions of my face, my smile, and my smell

I pray that you have someone to comfort you through it all

And most importantly, I pray that you will know

You were my downfall

Close your eyes and listen closely,

As you stand in this space take in the moment. 

Can you hear it?

The soft chains rattling in the distance,

The haunting melodies of your ancestors singing,

The footsteps shuffling through the sand towards the water.

This place is not for them. 

This place will not be their prison. 

Just as the lyrics to the song they sing,

The water brought them here, the water will take them away.

The time for spirits is high,

Open your eyes and watch the world come alive. 

Do you see them?

Out in the distance,

Chains so loud you want to cover your ears,

Melodies sung with such passion your eyes water,

Footsteps closer to the water making you want to reach out to stop them. 

Just as you take a step forward one turns to you.

She is beautiful and she is fearless.

In your head her voice speaks so clearly,

“This is our sacrifice, don’t let it be in vain.”

Side note: Thank you to the many ancestors that gave their lives at The Igbo Landing. Let’s not let their sacrifice be in vain. We must do better.

As I watch the news recently about Sean Reed and hearing the detective joke about his funeral being a closed casket my heart hurts. While this young man was laying lifeless in the street without being covered up, that was something to laugh about? I still cannot figure out what he did that was so wrong that caused him to lose his life. Many will say, he shouldn’t have ran or he posed a threat. Eye witnesses say that he only had his phone and his shirt while running away. That seems accurate since he was filming on Facebook live the whole time.

Now I know many people at this point are saying they are tired of hearing about this kind of stuff, there is no such thing as racism, talking about it makes it worse, and there is no difference people just need to work harder for what they want. In the eyes of myself and many people of color that is bull. This is something we live with everyday whether we want to or not. There is no option. We must talk about it or else no one would know about it. Just look at Ahmaud Arbery. It took two months for the world to know what happened to him to get the ball rolling. How many others do we not know about?

As for him not running away, well the truth of the matter is he could’ve had the same outcome if he had stood there and complied. It’s been seen time and time again. Philando Castile informed the officer that he legally had a weapon before attempting to get his license like the officer wanted before being shot. What I find even more shocking about the Sean Reed incident is that the same day is that two men of the opposite color did the same thing minus being on Facebook live and these two men were armed plus wearing body armor. Those two men were also arrested without injury. They live to see another day. So my question in this case is, “What made them less of a threat?”

During a time where my boys (Age 11 and 7) are supposed to be living young, wild, and free; they must start their life lessons. Those lessons go something like this:

  • These are the laws you must study today. Always know your rights.
  • When you get pulled over stay calm, turn your music down, have your license and registration attached to the visor overhead so it is always readily available, and no matter what keep your hands on the steering wheel. Do whatever you have to do to drive away safely.
  • When you walk in the store take your hood off. It does not matter that the person next to you of the opposite color has his on. You are seen as a threat and he is not. Also keep your hands out of your pockets until you leave out the store.
  • When talking to an officer or anyone else make sure your hands are visible at all times to prevent the escalation of the fear within a person that could cause harm to you.
  • Choose your battles wisely
  • Most importantly, should you find yourself in a situation where it is your life or someone else’s, DEFEND yourself at all times.

These are the life lessons that many children males and females of color have to go through at a young age. It does not matter that my children have been raised in the suburbs their whole lives and that their parents are veterans. Once they leave our neighborhood and even inside, they are still just a color to many that are filled with ignorant information about people like them. Many ask, “What do we do?” I wonder if there is anything we can do. There are still so many blind to everything that’s happening, many do not want to speak out because of fear of backlash, and then there are the main ones that are part of the problem. So for those that read this and want to chime in, feel free to tell me, “What do we do?”

It’s raining and I’m lost in my thoughts of you

Alone in the darkness with nothing but the sound of the rain against my window

I think of the time when it was you and I together doing the same thing

As we laid next to each other we shared thoughts of our future

The future where we become husband and wife

The future where us two becomes four with our boy and girl

The future where I am a successful author and you have your flourishing business

The future where we live in nothing, but happiness with a smidge of upset moments

The world will be ours and nothing can stop us

So lost in my thoughts, I didn’t hear the door open

The dip of the bed as you lie next to me is the announcement that you’re home

All those things that we talked about have come true

And now we lay here together in comfortable silence listening to the rain like we used to

Surrounded by our love and the sounds of the rain

Photo: My Grandmother and I

If I close my eyes I can see her,

5’2, smooth chocolate skin, Afro hair, and a stern face,

Sitting there on a hot summer day,

Tapping her foot to the tunes from the cars that pass,

Her hand waves at those that call out her name,

She’s familiar to everyone,

Almost as if she’s a celebrity,

She was a driving force in the movement,

Not one to shy away from a fight for equality,

I looked up to her,

My second mother,

So much was learned from her about this world,

All of which I’ll pass on to my children,

The very children that didn’t get a chance to meet her,

She passed 2 years before my oldest was born,

The memories I have will become theirs through me

Those very memories embedded so deeply that as we sit around the fire pit under the star filled sky

We will close our eyes, whisper our gratitude, and together we’ll see her.

Looking at this picture and watching everything going on currently with Ahmaud Arbery, I’m filled with so many emotions. Anger, frustration, fear, and many more.

I find it ironic that the very car my son has to walk past to get home could contain an individual so insecure and afraid of his melanin, his strength, his power that they consider him a threat already at the age of 11. Many really don’t understand the emotions we go through raising our young Kings in a world that wishes to harm them.

In the end it’s all just ignorance. Ignorance that has been passed down from generation to generation. Since the days of Emmett Till, George Stinney, and the many before whose names we do not know. Why must this continue to happen? What will be done for some type of justice? I have to say I have long ago lost date in the justice system. A system that I hold a degree in.

Many will say it’s all in our head, the victim did so many things wrong, he should have just complied, and the list goes on. The truth of the matter is the side of blue is not always right. Now I have to admit, there are some good ones out there and they try to make a difference, but very rarely do you see those people speak out in the public during times when their voice matters the most. I still will not discredit them for the good they are trying to do, but the time to be silent has long left the building.

At the age of 11 my child should not have to be ran through drills on how to behave just so I can feel somewhat secure knowing he has the tools to make it back home to me when the time comes. Another truth is that no matter how much he is trained, that means nothing when you have someone that is afraid of him based off the color of his skin or how they see his type to be portrayed on the television. He should be able to enjoy his youth without being looked at sideways because he wears his hood which he loved to do. He should not be considered disrespectful because he did not reply when he actually did not hear what was being said due to the fact that he currently has his earbuds in and not looking at the person to know they are speaking to him. He should not have to fear being shot down while jogging because people automatically assume because he’s running he’s committed a crime.

I try not to be that angry mother, but it’s difficult. Especially when you see these things constantly happening and nothing been done about it. An arrest doesn’t mean a conviction, the victim’s life shouldn’t be a trial when they’re not here to defend themselves, something clear as day on video should not be excused to appease those considered to reign supreme. My son will be a strong black man raised by a strong black man and woman. His parents fought for this country even when people in this country fought against them.

He will walk this earth with his head held up without an ounce of fear. I will house that fear that he is not allowed to have. He will know all the rules to abide by during a traffic stop and he will know all the ways to protect himself should he be put in a situation when he has to defend himself. He will be prepared.

I remember walking along the beach,

The sky was painted in red and orange,

The sun was a dim glow fading away,

I wished for you,

My stubbornness wouldn’t allow me to call,

I know the argument was stupid, but who apologizes first?

I find a spot and become lost in my thoughts,

It was all so simple before you said those three words,

Why couldn’t we just leave things the way they were?

I know, because the heart wants what it wants,

Mines has wanted you since the first evening we met,

I was walking with my head down and you made some little remark that got my attention,

I was a goner from there,

Time sped up and months later you’ve thrown me for a loop,

Looking in my eyes you murmured, “I love you.”

Now why did you have to ruin it?

You didn’t know that deep down I’m afraid of being loved and left,

Instead of telling you I place my guards up again,

Here I am hours later in this spot thinking about the stupid argument I started instead of taking a leap of faith and saying what was in my heart.

Maybe it’s not too late, maybe if I come back and tell you the truth you’ll forgive me.

Jumping up, I turn in the direction of home and there you are,

Arms stretched open wide for me to be embraced,

I do so without hesitation and when the feeling is right I capture this moment in time while whispering, “I love you.”

Fill me with the nostalgia of my childhood

Remind me of the long days outside filled with nothing but careless playing

Those were the days

No worries of the world that the adults conquer daily

Although we can’t wait to be grown

Right now we just want to enjoy the moment

Ride with me on our bikes around the many streets with nothing but the wind hitting our face as we race

It’s your turn to help twist the ropes as I double Dutch to the rhyme of the fire bell, ready to jump out on my birthday

Feel the chalk on our hands from the many squares we had to draw for hopscotch

Red light green light to the curb as we

hear the ice cream truck coming around the corner ready to take our money that we had to promise to be really good to get

And just as we get ready to start an intense round of kickball,

Look up and see the streetlight come on

Everyone groans before heading in many directions to make it home

And finally when you rest you head at night

Fall into a peaceful slumber thinking about how it’ll all happen again tomorrow

Yes, Those were the days

“Is there anything I can help you with?”

Those words sound normal when perusing through the store, Right?

I thought that too until I saw your face in the very next aisle.

I make eye contact with you and you quickly put your head down.

Shrugging it off, I continue to the next one and surprisingly we meet again.

My irritation level begins to rise because now I’m feeling the same as I have on many other occasions when I walked into an establishment and took my time to make a sound decision.

Just like before I have to smile and keep my emotions in check so I do not become “that girl”.

You know, the angry black woman portrayed in many instances.

Although the reason to be angry is valid, society doesn’t see it that way.

Retrieving my items, I continue to the counter with my head held high and a smile on my face while inside I am fuming.

You go behind the counter and ring it all up before I swipe my card.

The approval shows on the machine and you grace me with a smile and thank me for my business.

Now that you have received my money and I’m leaving I’m no different than the girl behind me that looks the complete opposite of me.

Hmmmmm…Are you sure there’s no difference in the world today?

Photo taken May 7th: My husband and angel baby

As May 7th approaches, I’m filled with thoughts of your memory. May 7th, the last day I was able to physically hold you. In my mind I knew what the day would bring, but my heart wasn’t ready. I couldn’t let someone so precious go so soon. Looking down at you I was hit with a shocking realization that I was being selfish. I wanted to continue to hold your hand all through life until it was my time to transition, but right then in my presence is where your body was receiving the most pain.

So I released you and asked that you be free from pain. I knew that although you were not physically with me I would still have the comfort of your memories. I remember not long after you left, I had a dream of you. In that dream I walked up to my granny who was rocking and holding a child. That child was you. I told her your name and she looked at me as if I was crazy. She told me she knew who her grandchild was and then resumed rocking.

I wanted to stay in that moment longer, but the smile she gave me and her eyes let me know it was time to leave. So I did with a sense of contentment. I no longer had you, but I knew you were safe in the very arms that helped mold me into the woman I am today. I will always miss you and I will always love. I just have to do it from a distance now.

On May 7th, I celebrate your life and everything it was. You fought bravely to make it into this world with hydrocephalus and through every surgery. You surpassed the time you were initially given and gave me so many moments to cherish. I’m so proud to have a son like you and if given the chance I would do it all over again by your side.