We are going to scream it loudly and proudly: BLACK LIVES MATTER!As for my fellow Americans who see and recognize this oppression and understand our fight, don’t sit silently at your tables just because the whip is not on your back. I stay in prayer in hopes that the men I love don’t come in contact with the police. Since the pandemic, every person in the world knows the importance of being able to breathe. We are a language so deep it has no need for words. We have to know our own history. So, don’t lose sight of what is right and always keep the fight. Dear plastic bags on the feet of the woman sitting behind the Quick Stop on the turnpike. That was a horrible, horrible time. It was my sophomore year at USC and I barely made it home before the riots began. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), View astalagriotte’s profile on Instagram. This is what you call murder. ( Log Out /  blow our cries to shore? Your oppression, your systemic racism, your lack of justice continue to suffocate black America, and “We Can’t Breathe!” Black people have had enough of you destroying our very existence.Â, We are happy to shed your broken system and step into the light on behalf of our ancestors, our grandparents, for ourselves and most importantly for our children!Â. Dear old roan mare carrying a teenage girl who wants to go to college and become a doctor. Dear America Im only what youve made me. As I stare outside looking in from a window located miles away from you, I cannot help but say to you that I’m sorry. Ever since 45 (as I call him) has been in office, we’ve had to have these difficult conversations regularly.Â, That’s really what breaks my heart the most: the children. He’s 10 now. Dear Prairie Dog Town, Dear Corn Palace, Dear Largest Potato in the World. Calling poets to a greater role in public life and fostering a national network of socially engaged poets. By Tracy K. Smith. It’s happening to all of us. It starts with taking better care of each other.I take my role in this very seriously, as well. © 2020 Minute Media - All Rights Reserved. But, police brutality wasn’t something many Americans could comprehend. & I'm troubled You don't feel anything Replace those same white boys with a group of black boys, and they would no longer be seen as kids hanging out. When white kids have a rambunctious college party, it’s just kids being kids. Instead of hope you see despair. I had no idea.”. So many tried to be / empty, to be barely breath. We say we’re one nation under God, but nation is defined as people united. – taken from New Colossus, the sonnet on the Statue of Liberty. It’s happening to all of us. from your head. Your alphabet wraps itselflike a tourniquetaround my tongue. We have to have stronger values. Page More About This Poem dear white america By Danez Smith About this Poet Danez Smith was born St. Paul, Minnesota. in the middle of the night. If you’re silent, you are part of the problem. I pick you up& the naked trees leaninto the ocean where you arrived,shaking chains & freedomfrom your head. We are tired of having this talk and trying to make you feel comfortable with the color of our skin. Why is this happening? My husband graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and fought in two wars for our country. I have received many calls and texts from some of my white friends saying, “Is it really that bad? We just can’t do it anymore! Dear key-card being slipped back into the pocket as the elevator goes up fifty-eight flights. Did the ocean releasemy neck? Raw. You have every right to be upset when life, liberty and pursuit of happiness -your best friends and family- are hurt on a daily basis aggressed, hijacked, and at times raped. I just turn it off.” Well, that’s a privilege to be able to turn it off. I’m sorry you have to deal with this. Over the past week, I’ve had a lot of my white friends — who I love — say things like, “You know what? Why should we have to explain to our son, You can’t do everything you see your white friends doing? There is a difference, if you have not recognized it. Bold. Iridescent,lovely, your inestimable tantrums,I carry you back & forthfrom the famine in your mind. At times you don’t cry at all, for ages, because you feel like you have cried too many tears. I can’t stand my own mind. You want us to love you when serving in uniform, but when we are out of uniform, you throw us aside as if we never served and protected you. When will we see? Right, anyway, on with the classic American poems – and if you want to seek out more American poetry, we strongly recommend getting hold of the indispensable The Oxford Book of American Verse. July 2, 2020. Black people have had enough of you destroying our very existence. I’ve traveled the world, and I choose to live here. By Rachel Eliza Griffiths. ( Log Out /  When will we open our eyes to our fellow travelers? We have to be more educated. I pick you up & you are a child made of longing clasped to my neck. & the naked trees lean We want to hear from you. Guest Writer June 23, 2020 Poetry. I wish I could tell you that it will all be okay but I don’t know how to make it better because I don’t know if it’ll ever get better. Beatty has read her work widely, at venues such as the Geraldine R. Dodge Festival and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I’m sorry that what you stand for is being vilified and trampled on by a bunch of people who seem to have no understanding of your history, of your dreams and hopes for the future. We need you, we welcome you, we thank you. If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Dear America, Our whole lives you’ve wanted black people to ‘love’ you, to pledge their allegiance to you. To be / still enough to be left alone. Panic fills the air as the government gives everyone a scare. Vote for the lawmakers in Congress this year — and again in two years when it’s time to vote again. America, we’re not united we’re divided. When will the confines of your mind allow you to accept us for who we are? Dear brown bear sleeping in her den, cubs two months from being born. They look suspicious! Which is pretty much what George Zimmerman said before he shot and killed young Trayvon Martin. The police can arrive in our communities and be the judge, the jury and the executioner on the spot. I love being an American, and I love being a black American. As the calls for long overdue change sweep every aspect of our society, we as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color theatre workers are meeting the moment, developing a new social contract for our work environments that cares for and sustains our artistry and lives. That is what you call injustice.”, My husband said to my son, “This is why I teach you that we must be better in every way. Like James Did the opal wavesblow our cries to shore? I live of tea, coffee, podcasts and books. with music. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Currently, Griffiths teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and the Institute of American Indian Arts. An injustice to one race is an injustice to all races. I know you’re pissed off that those that have been put in charge to make it better make it ten times worse. Just because you choose to be in the dark about what’s going on doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Be careful how you stereotype others, because you are either passing on love, or passing on hate to the next generation. Dear Black America: A Letter From Tracy K. Smith "We revel in the depth and the flair and the belief and the secrecy of Blackness." Dear charred chili pepper, Dear Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store, Dear snow shovel. Dear America: A Poem . Because you see when we began to fight over tissue and tissue is not even the real issue the issue is you. Erin Coughlin Hollowell is an Alaskan poet, the executive director of Storyknife Writers Retreat, and a teacher for the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference and the University of Alaska Anchorage low-residency MFA program.