Features

BLACK MEN DON’T DIE


Salwa Hassam


Here, they don’t pray unless they are sure heaven is safer than this world.

Here, we are an abundance of lonely and stillness,

Here, we pray in our sleep and awake in our supplication, we ask god to keep us HERE for another moment.

Here, the Somalis are met with what we ran from — here

Blackness is a sin that white tears will apprehend.

Here, my brothers are nowhere

And I am in a nowhere that the world is trying to radicalize and then dawn me with insanity when they poked at MY skin and told me to move

What is blackness but to live in a world that makes waking up more painful than my blood drawn?

They take our men and tell us to grieve quietly

BLACK women don’t know how to grieve quietly

Here, black men don’t die quietly

Death is our revolutionary unfolding of black effort, so we reserve grave spaces for the undead

Colonialism patronizes blackness

Pilfers our lives

And then sells it back to us with a eulogy promising heaven as our healing space

After they kill the niggers in numbers

But tell me,

Who bleeds a deeper hue of blood than our men??

Unafraid of a death you gave to them before their mothers died blissfully on hospital beds

Our men

ARE the darkest tint of terror

They are what the necropolis white cops come to bathe in when it gets too mucky outside

But here, nobody prays unless

they are sure heaven is safer than this world.

Here, black men don’t die because heaven is safer than this world — here

Black men carry birth certificates for identification in case their inert carcasses need to be identified — here

Black men wonder if heaven looks anything like home — here

Black men wonder if heaven looks anything like this …

This article was originally published in the Nov. 2, 2018 issue. 

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