Friday, July 8, 2016

No Hashtag Will Unbury the Dead

no law will heal it
no tweet will defeat it
no hashtag will unbury the dead

but I come from a circle in hell where the only way to the light
is to sift through and examine every stone of hatred carried upon your back

I speak only for myself as a white man
who went all the way through college never questioning why I felt uncomfortable
talking about race
how my eyes shifted to avoid looking at any black man and woman on the street
as if some terror existed there

though I’d never been punched in the face by a black man
nor robbed
nor beaten
but was filled with angst
more than what the television shows taught me to fear
the comedy of prime time
the evening news tagging my consciousness long before Facebook
with ripe notices of who I should trust and fear

until one day
when walking in Oakland
one with the breath
in grieving other losses about being sexually abused
that my family were unjust disturbed people at best
that my father who had a tv repair man from the KKK
and who got drunk daily with a white child molester,
a child molester who bragged about murdering a black boy years before
and how he expected me to shake hands with the man
every time we met
until I vomited this can happen no more

no law will heal it
no tweet will defeat it
no hashtag will unbury the dead

I stood in my steps near Lake Merritt outside Kwikway
and asked who was I to fear these black people who had caused me no harm
until my guts poured out the mad shame
of all the unspoken words I inherited from my father
those rocks of hatred curved into half assed smiles
the terror I experienced as them
was the terror I had been born into
a terror of my own truth
the realization of my own inheritance
that I didn’t want to look in their eyes because I was ashamed of the eyes of my parents
my grandparents eyes
who saw my great grandparents loose their legs attempting to defend the right of states to allow one race of human beings to own and sell and rape other human beings,
as if that was just a good ole game of football
and the confederate flag no different than a college pennant hanging on the wall

as if this was just some black and white movie from the 1930’s
instead of something real
something worth being horrified about
(though no one ever says that when teaching history in grade school...wish they would)

and what ghosts must exist between our thoughts
not to clean up this mess inside ourselves
and if you don’t have the courage ....then shut up

no law will heal it
no tweet will defeat it
no hashtag will unbury the dead

but if we unwind the threads of hatred
extending like ropes through time
through our language
our myths
the DNA of our subconscious
working hard to pick apart each fear
dismantle the burnt crumbs of prejudice
hold the mirror to ourselves and weep
as any just man or woman should if this is their heritage
just weep it out like a fever sweat through the bones
and grieve the utter ridiculous madness of our ancestors
then one day we as a people
might leave this ring of hell
where people get murdered
because of the color of their skin and senseless other reasons
where hatred has become the master and everyone has become its slave

I want to be unshackled from the history (and the karma)
of what my ancestors did
the bondage they did unto others
and yet I cannot claim to be free
until I have let go the rocks of hatred
sewed into these hand-me-downs
until I have wiped my own mind clean
and washed my heart with the tears of millions of slaves

no law will heal it
no tweet will defeat it
no hashtag will unbury the dead

I protest the web of thoughts, the subconscious swamp,
I’ll breathe this incantation
until my spell has cured the wasteland

                                                                                                        Copyright 2016 Brett Bevell