Sunday, November 26, 2017

From the current issue: Aubrey Barnes. "Black Like Me"

Let me tell you a fact about myself
That almost everyone I meet feels the need to remind me
I am black
I’m so black that I make Micheal Blackson not seem so
Black, son
I’m so black that in a game of laser tag
I should be permitted to keep my
Eyes open and and teeth showing
Otherwise i’d be cheating
I’m so black that you would swear that i’m a vampire
Because when i’m in photos with no flash
All you see floating clothes
I’m so black that when i’m out for a run
People look at me in jaw dropping awe
Speechless that I’m moving so fast
They mistaken me for the Flash
But, he’s a white superhero
So that’d never happen
Instead they look at me in grandiose curiosity
“Sir, are you from Africa?”
I’m so black that when I mention that I like to watch basketball
People roll their eyes
To a point that i’d swear their brain rolled right along with them
But when I go to games in cities such as Geneseo
You would swear that I walked into the Gymnasium in my underwear
The way people silently over stare
The odd black man at a basketball game
He must be here for a girl
Or to cause some trouble
Maybe we should make eye contact
When he doesn’t make eye contact
But if he makes eye contact
When we make eye contact
He’ll knock our eye contacts
Let’s just not make any contact
I am so black
That my teammate in college was stricken with fear at my appearance
But when he heard that my speech was “politically correct”
And my posture stood erect
He breathed out in great calm
Because it was evident that I was
So white that I make Carleton look like Tupac
So white that I mistaken Malcolm X’s name
For Malcolm the Tenth
I am so white that my all white friend, from an all white college
In an all white city told me
“You aren’t like the black people on TV”
When I go to the gym to play basketball
People run to me for a challenge
And leave victor
With an easy scored 21
To my hard toiled 16
Saying “you must not have inherited the genes”
But when it comes to these sixteens
I'm sweet like i'm sixteen
Addictive like nicotine
Spittin fire like kerosene
And you know what friends say to me?
“Oh my gosh, you actually are black!”
So I am black
But I am White
Or maybe people are just color blind
Shutter blinds closed to any sunny possibility of a no label society
Globular organs shrouded with stereotypical presumptions
Assumptions derived from contrived corruptions
Making these ideas of “acting black” and “acting white” alright
But it’s not alright if you’re white acting black
Or black acting white
Well it is okay
Just know we’re going to give you a hard time
When you forgot your belt at home\
And your pants a little
We’re going to say you’re dressing black
But when its around your waist and nicely fit
We’re going to then say you’re dressing ‘white’
Kind of like how Pharisees
Those religious leaders you hate
Judged good and evil by what they perceived with their eyes
Instead of looking into the heart that lies
When Eloheim said there is no Jew nor Gentile
Nor male or female
I believe if he stood in the midst of our color coded community
He would say there is no black nor white
I’m exactly what I was destined to be
An oddity and comedy
Laughable because giggling only makes sense of something that doesn’t make sense
A black acting white
A white acting black
An oxymoron prone to give minds
Prone to labels panic attacks
I mean when was the last time
You went to an ice cream parlor
Anticipating all flavors to be same?
That’d be lame
Just like a world full of agents
Trapped in a Matrix
The Neos bring change
Something out the norm
So i’ll forever say i’m
The paint splashes in a padded room
That can’t be cleaned by swiffer, rag or a broom
I am what I am because I Am said I am
So you see
It's not that I am whiter than you
Or you're blacker than me
But we're the same
Human beings bearing the same beautiful image
So in the end
I’m white like you
And you’re black like me

Watch Aubrey perform this poem.

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