But WHY do black lives matter? S&R honors #BLM, part 3

Body Language

by Dasan Ahanu


Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

There was a trial last night
Black angst took the stand
and pledged an oath on a bible
A symbol that truths
become more pertinent in red
Sorta like blood amidst chalk outlines
Our only forgotten sons

See angst was there to tell the whole truth
and nothing but the truth
so help a bullet riddled midnight
on it’s way to God

This court of opinion
is oh so Machiavellian
It’s all pretty play pretend
Privilege dressed
in black robed pretense
Jury box filled with cognitive dissonance
common bigotry
and misguided belief in a blue walled ignorance
Uniformed paradoxes with surgeon like God complexes
and visions of black bodies as cancer
to be aggressively treated
and removed

Black bodies swinging in southern trees
gasped last rites before going home
Black bodies walking city blocks
speak in a resilient vernacular
Prosecution say it sound so criminal
Like probable cause
Defense say aint nobody ever
really wanted to listen to the body language

Prosecution say stance was aggressive
Hands say I showed my palms
Thought the flushed pink there
might mirror
the panicked hatred facing them
Can’t turn, might seem like welcoming
Like ground control for flying rounds
looking to land on dark tarmacs
Can’t close, might seem like resistance
Like fight back
Like justified kill

Prosecution say movement seemed shady
Feet just wanted to be mo careful
with each step
They say 10 toes down
better than 10 toes up
Feet say they felt the earth giggle with glee
at the promise of dinner

Newspapers say there was a prior record
Mouths speak words like good
Tell tales of youthfulness
and sing sad songs
Teeth wave goodbye
as they crumble from baton against jaw
Mouth cry red tears for teeth lost
Community sheds tears for youth lost

Gun said on your knees
Knees kiss earth in prayer
Scream when ripped from the asphalt embrace
Eyes watch night cloaked death
strike again and again
Then they close in self preservation
Skin cracks
Head craters
Levees break
Red floods cities of hope and humanity
Conflicting accounts become
displaced to sealed records
and destroyed evidence

Prosecution says nothing was done wrong
Work means job to do
Clock ticks too precious for mercy
Questions are for court rooms
not life or death situations
Judges get to take the black off
when it no longer suits them
12 still arguing
People arguing too
Respectability and misrepresentation
Thugs and criminality
Duty and service
Training and in the blink of an eye
Post racial and 400 year burdens
Glory and demonization
Martyrdom and marginalization
Defense can never rest
Defense can never rest


Christopher Massenburg, better known as Dasan Ahanu, is a public speaker, organizer, workshop facilitator, poet, spoken word performer, educator, songwriter, writer, emcee, and loyal Hip Hop head born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is currently a 2015-2016 Nasir Jones Fellow with the Hip Hop Archive at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.