Friday, November 28, 2014


*Inspired by the last line of Mahogany Browne's poem "Working Title": I'm so afraid to have a son.

Dear [Black] Mothers,

I will now
refer to you as
since you're at war
with your faith
in peaceful days
cuz you birthed black boys

I'm sorry
every time your black sons
walk out the door
you picture mine-filled streets
ensnaring them
bombs donned in blue
with loose triggers
suspect intentions
precise aim

you dread their steps
knowing it doesn't matter
how lightly they tread:
their existence
is the only weight needed
to split the thin ice
they're skating on

I'm sorry your hearts
are too fragile
for simple good-byes
see you laters
be right backs

I'm sorry they're no longer simple

they sound like lies
your sons have no clue
they're telling

fear pillages your heartbeats
dines on your breaths
siphons the hope from your soul
when you hear them

I'm sorry
that in your world
sending them to the store
is synonymous with sending them
to their grave

you weep
second guess
before saddling them
with that lethal task
cuz these days
they're more likely to survive
a freeway pileup
than the trip there and back

I'm sorry you wake up every day
choking on the stench of fatality
the knowledge that your sons
no longer have to be incarcerated
to incur a death sentence
that their melanin
is the revised definition
of "dead man walking"

I'm sorry your love
will never be
big enough
strong enough
mother enough
to protect your sons
from blue-clad bombs
explosive-teemed clips
and the rigged system

I'm sorry
there's a war on your sons
you haven't been prepped
to defeat

Charlene E. Green

Hear Mahogany's poem here: