Thursday, May 29, 2014

"warmth of Other Suns and Poem "when You're Me"

thoughts on isabel wilkerson book warmth of other suns

When You’re Me

By Muslim Mansa Lutalo Iyapo


It makes me wanna holler at the top of my lungs,

but I’m guilty as charged therefore the holler never comes.

“Helping the brother-man against the other man” is a response I often use,

when a brother asks “what’s happening?” or “what you been up to?”

Words followed by action even if the action is limited to words that dare

to speak truth to power and knock the brains out of falsehood.

It’s not and never will be all good…

Not as long as I know my rights,

Not as long as I’m able to give people trapped in the dark some light,

Not as long as I’m able to hear for those who can’t hear,

because you refuse to send new hearing aid batteries for what he calls his “other ears.”

Not as long as I’m able to stay focused without snapping,

Not as long as I can make it happen through action.

Not as long as racial disparities exist,

Not as long as… well, you already know what’s on my list. 

Now here I sit, as a consequence of my conduct, in an empty cell,

all property boxed up in a warehouse…

waiting for tomorrow, when I’ll be shipped hours up north

to a different slave plantation.


When you’re me, you simply acknowledge that it comes with the territory,

and shake that dirt off your back and take a step up, just like that “donkey” story.

When you’re me, you pause to reflect on the few good people you’ve met,

and come to the realization that these people you will never forget.

When you’re me, you understand that it’s divide and conquer,

and yet spend more than half of 20 years in segregation and still prosper.

When you’re me, you don’t have time to lick your wounds because the blows are steady coming,

you train yourself to lock your pain away deep down in your emotional dungeon.

When you’re me, you get down on your knees in prayer and ask for strength and wisdom.

If you have strength the size of a mustard seed you will get all that you asked for

and then some.

When you’re me, you will be able to read this and say to yourself

you feel just like me,

and if you do, you’ll know that it never was about me,

but about we.

When you’re me.