Friday, January 13, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Shantell Antoinette

Close up image of a microphone on a stage. The audience that is facing the microphone is blurred, appearing as a myriad of colors (red, white, green, yellow, etc.)
As the incoming administration builds its agenda of attack on marginalized people, on freedom of speech, on the earth itself, poetry will continue to be an essential voice of resistance. Poets will speak out in solidarity, united against hatred, systemic oppression, and violence and for justice, beauty, and community.

In this spirit, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. For the rest of this frightening month, January of 2017, we invite you to send us poems of resistance, power, and resilience.

We will post every poem we receive unless it is offensive (containing language that is derogatory toward marginalized groups, that belittles, uses hurtful stereotypes, etc.). After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to the White House.

For guidelines on how to submit poems for this call, visit the Call for Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience blog post


Stolen Innocence
by Shantell Antoinette

My son just celebrated his 13th birthday
That’s one year older than Tamir
To me they favor
And that makes me afraid
Because my son suffers from an invisible disability
That paints a target
On his head, back and chest
I don’t feel safe here
For him, it’s not safe anywhere
As soon as I feel it’s ok for me to fall asleep
I am awakened by the news that another life was taken
This time a child, who’s life was full of promise, just like my son’s
But I guess God felt that those promises would be fulfilled in only 12 short years
That’s a hard thing to reconcile
God is omniscient right?
So that means he knew he would have a gun, he knew it would look real and he knew
That a cop  would pull up and shoot him twice, fatally
God knew it all and yet I have to pray to the same God for comfort from it all
That too is a hard thing for me to reconcile
I need this world to be different
I need the color of my skin not to be a threat
And I need the purity of my heart to overshadow the evils that men do
But my heart is not enough
I thought that it was
I thought that my love could permeate through the stench of blood and death
But it can’t
They can’t feel my love in Ferguson, NY or Maryland
And they damn sure can’t feel it in Cleveland
So I pray for a safe space to hide 12 year olds too immature
To process their own mortality
I pray that God would save us, even from ourselves
GOD can’t you see lives are at stake?
Looking at the state of the world
I see the purge is not just a movie
Blacks being bought and sold on an open market
While predators profit from fracturing families
And all we do is sit
Waiting on a conviction that will never come
So I make a wish
I wish that guns didn’t exist
Then I take my change and throw it in a fountain
Hoping it’s enough to cover the cost of freedom
And watching it sink to the bottom like so many unanswered prayers
And haven’t we already paid enough with the blood of the stolen innocent
That’s a price no mother should have to pay
And in my righteous indignation
I march up to the doors of the establishment
Asking what is their refund policy on racism
They try to ignore my cries
So I ask again, how do I get a refund for the blood of my child
All I want is a refund, for the blood of my child

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