Goin' Round - S. Renee Mitchell

so with non-violence grace
i reject your advice to abide
only in the spaces you call “my place”
because doing so would rob you
of resonance - of the reasons we all showed up tonight
— S. Renee Mitchell

Goin' Round
(c) 2017 S. Renee Mitchell

I hear the man is going round
he has forgotten that he is a part of us
he had misplaced the golden rule
refused to dream
lost the ties to our convictions
he searches for proof of childish lies
in the folds of his belly button
he pulls out the sticky fluff - sniffs
and declares it genius

I hear he's goin round
mispronouncing my too-ethnic name
disregarding my presence, my rhythms, my potential
yet, his prejudice does not make me disappear
unconscious lies do not exist forever

I hear him goin round
delighting in taking my past, present and future
and drowning it in loss
alienating children of color with trauma by association
making them feel motherless before they are even born

yes I hear him goin round
but he cannot stop my soul from longing
and so i look for promise embedded in displacement
embrace comfort in the coolness of the cursive stream

just beyond the barbed wire fence
that barrier that keeps my movements
and my anger contained
but does not prevent my dreams from escaping

you cannot dehumanize my truth
by assigning struggle to my doorstep
so generations of my descendants
have something to fill their empty bowls with
brick and stone may define my chorus of exile
but they do not tame my persistent longing for a promised land
as God rewards the child
who's got his own hope

yes, I hear the man goin round
roaring a thickening noise in my ear
shouting memorials of fear
that make the emotionally deadened
want to lie still and forget
get lost in the dictionary of silence
but when grief makes noise
i find renewal in moving my body
raising limbs to catch stars
pressing feet toward Mother Earth
to forget the memories
of the blood that roars in my ear
dance it says
when the world forgets your name, dance

when there's no one to hold u
when not even the scent makes claim
on your haggard body
dance, the blood says, dance I say
lose yourself
become invincible like dreams
unconditional like love
green like tall grass
offering companionship to wildflowers
of yellow scarlet indigo purple

when torrents of the rarely voiced
seldom heard stuffed down feelings
come up from your throat like rotten milk
dance to release the sting of life's aches
a simple wave a stroke
a turn a hop
sway those hips for no good reason
but to be in charge
of your own damn movement
dance the blood roars - dance

dance even while imagining the ominous outcomes
of a dream deferred
because we do live in a nation
sick with power and evil intent
and fear makes my stomach lurch sometimes
yet i rise up and i will dance
i will dance to replenish my sovereignty of self love
to quench my hunger for justice
hear its appeal soar from the hymns of spirituals
born in the bosoms of black mothers
praying for the eventual freedom
of genius children yet unborn

so mister i hear you coming 'round
and I am ready
i stand on the side of justice
where my faith may falter but never fail
I invite you to view me sacred
a weapon on the side of justice
come join our song
or at the very least - listen carefully
because when you do not hear our voices
you alienate our collective intelligence
you dismiss the liberation that love reveals

so with non-violence grace
i reject your advice to abide
only in the spaces you call "my place"
because doing so would rob you
of resonance - of the reasons we all showed up tonight
we are here to hear voices that describe feeling like the other
voices that long for a homeland
voices that heal wounds and demand compassion
this is the event we have been waiting for

and we hear you going round
yet I am not afraid
my remaining request
is when you get to the names
of my brothers and sisters of struggle and resistance
even though we are far from home
set aside your navel gazing
and assumptions that our monikers
are evidence of cultural inferiority
instead of what they are: gloriously creative inventions
to open the world up to our presence

yes, we hear you going round
going round taking names
and when you get to my name
unfamiliar and foreign in your mouth
please please
at least have the decency
to pronounce it right