For My Sisters
(inspired by Margaret Walker’s For My People)
For my people on a journey;
Modern day underground railroad
Yearning, dreaming, scheming for a new destination
Turn here to get there
Get there and it seems like nowhere
Detouring, U-turning, slight right then left
Getting harder to pass Go
The hounds are on your tracks and the rifle just click-clacked
For my people on a journey, railroaded in modern times
For my people who are scared of the police, whose fear shows through hate justified but pushed to the side by the media. For my men who have been mistreated illegally by enforcers of the law and for my women whose assailants roam free while they remain emotionally imprisoned by an uncaring system;
For my mothers who search for ways to explain hate and death and AIDS and peace and race and homelessness and sex and terrorism and drugs and fairness and integrity to their babies. Do you know what it’s like to convince a 7 year old that his school will not be blown up? Your responsibility is of cosmic proportions.
For my hip hop sistahs, the inspiration for much misguided praise, admiration and infatuation. We sometimes forget that creativity is a feminine energy, But those sisters, those fly sisters who claim their space and sway their hips and pop their backs to the indigenous drum that’s tucked away somewhere between the auto tune and word play, they never lose hope, knowing that one day they will find themselves in the lyric.
For my people moving around in bodies that are beautiful, but still wishing for bigger booties, perkier breasts, juicier lips, longer penises, smaller bellies, lighter skin, whiter teeth, smoother tans, prettier hair and nonexistent perfection, who do not yet realize that they are enough;
For my sisters that stare at warped delusions in mirrors
Who don’t see their inherent beauty
But the absence of it everywhere
For my sisters who embrace chemical miracles
Burning their skin, scalp and psyche
For my sisters pressing, curling, frying, dying, locking or trying to grow acceptance out of the top of your skull.
Change your style, rock your look, express your creativity, but if fitting in is what you seek, my sister it must start from the heart or you will never like what you see reflected in 3D or refracted on your TV. Just remember that you were born with all that you need
For my sisters who hear and read the statistics
But dare to love anyway
Who get that education and employment don’t
Mean eschewing affection
This is for my sisters who apologize before giving any opinion.
I do not accept
“this may sound stupid, but…”
“I don’t mean to offend…”
You have the right to speak in classrooms, board rooms, AND bedrooms. The news articles are only telling you to slow down so that you’ll capitulate, and allow yourself to be coerced into living less fully, intimidated into giving up your dreams, and browbeaten into dutiful submission.
For my sisters who are tender despite all the calluses, who caress their beauty, skin, scars and all, who can still feel their hearts pulsing after all the storms have beaten through them, who know they are alive, even as those things, that died, have now withered and gone away.
For my sisters, almost ready to forgive themselves, to love themselves, to heal themselves.
Release your song, scream out your pain, but whatever you do, don’t be silent.
Accept anger as an indication that something is very wrong.
You are the remedy when you fly
Now rise and take control.