We are all lined down;

deep and thick in a pit;

so black there is no other color

where pleas and prayers cannot escape

but seep down this jail of flesh.

There is no room to bleed.

 

Our ghosts scoff, “Show us your chains.

Give us your screams and your wails.

Tell us your stories and tales

of the ocean, of sales,

of fields, of bales,

or we don’t know you.”

 

Children barter unearned coin

with unmarked hands

and forsake God for gimme and gold

to buy peace from the secret sin.

They covet another color;

any other color.

 

What I hate about my color is my hate.

What I hate about my color is my sorrow.

What I hate about my color is that color

is so precious to the Beast.

 

God made us black.

The Beast made it matter.

 

Still, our ghosts scoff, “Show us your chains.

Give us your screams and your wails.

Tell us your stories and tales

of the ocean, of sales,

of fields, of bales,

or we don’t know you.”

 

What I love about my color are my mothers.

What I love about my color are my brothers;

sanctuary, survival, solace, and succor.

 

I may scale the strong walls,

and stronger walls that we build

with guilt, blame and shame.

and exorcise ghosts

that scoff and boast.

 

by Stuart James Forrest

Stuart James Forrest developed a passion for creative writing while attending the Stanford University Continuing Studies Program. He enjoys writing poetry and short stories and hopes to develop enough skill to be a strong, creative representative of his generation of Black Americans who lived through a very tumultuous period in American history.

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