A poem for the North, by an enby from the South
Racism is the father, race is the son,
A lesson I been taught since the age of one, from parents who looked at me and said you are the sun,
The brightest and boldest one.
Headstrong and determined.
Passionate and a lil uptight, these were words to prepare me for my fight,
My struggle to push this country to the left in an attempt to secure my right, to live, to be, to exist as me, the pursuit of happiness, I deserve to be carefree.
They looked at that little black boy and smiled at me, hoping that they really couldn’t predict what would happen to their future enby.
My momma lived up and down the Northeast, y’all already know she knew.
My grandma was born in the South and tried to assimilate into the Northeast, which ain’t nothin new.
My guidance counselor in high school told me not to go to college in Maine,
Didn’t really realize until recently that she was trying to save my brain from the emotional labor, the teaching, the pain,
Ship up to Boston, she said, there’s plenty for you to gain.
I said imma do it, I don’t care what momma says about the Northeast and their games.
He thought he knew something.
They learned better.
Up here, people think me and racism got something in common, we both from the South, born and raised,
They lower people from the South so that they can be praised, orgasming to the phrase of “good job.”
They want me to pat them on the back, lick they ass crack coz black don’t crack, worship the ground they walk on like it wasn’t built off my ancestor’s backs.
Meanwhile they insult me with that pussy hat, or x y z protest that, despite the fact that the Boston Tea Party-this was the site of that, proves to me every day that rebellion has become respectable.
The city of Boston done forgot how to fight. Where’d the revolutionary fire go, the people to fight are still white.
I reclaim “spilling tea.”
Coz see Boston can babble ‘bout Howard Thurman or the Reverend Doctor’s legacy, but when y’all don’t fight for the people who look like me, I place an embargo on my sweet Southern tea, how’s that for democracy?
Keeping up appearances, this is the North-don’t y’all know they ended slavery first? And the funny part is that’s not even the worst, coz it’s still people like us pulling the cart of progress like a hearse, picking up the bodies of our own and piling them on like a shopping cart in a supermarket named “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” while the list of names we use as receipts stretches on and on for miles.
And all the while, we fantasize insurrection over dessert, alternating tales of something sour with bites of something sweet.
And maybe we do tear it all down. Maybe we do dismantle that shit.
Or maybe, they wear us the fuck out. So we return home too fatigued to do anything but just pass the fuck out and keep spittin rhymes like this in the hopes of securing some muthafuckin’ clout.
Of course, that’s only my experience-I can back it up if that’s something you’d like from me, I’ll just ask my ancestors who came here thinkin’ they were free, only to still be denied their right to just be.
I can’t tell up from down, North from South, words of anger slip from my mouth as pale white faces smile in my face and I realize that they really do wanna take my place.
What they do? The backstabbers.
They show you fake love and you take it nigga because damn, at least the racists up here give you the time of day.
In the South, that’s not the way, if they ain’t like you they don’t play, because they ain’t got no liberal rep to hold up since they knew they was racist soon as Black people showed up.
Up here, people think racism is an invention of the South.
You might not agree, coz you think my message is too bleak,
But the words rolling off my tongue are never that meek.
Coz for all the fuckshit that I dealt with up here, for every trial by fire, I had to remind myself that diamonds form under pressure.
So that shit must flow through the blood in my veins, cut and polished, coz when I came up here I got bathed in flames. I almost collapsed under the pressure.
But somehow, that shit strengthened me. Diamond tempered like steel, honed in the flames of my own oppression to forge me into the sword of truth. The impurities of false perceptions a mere memory.
When I spit, that’s twenty four carats. Only a fool would be ignorant enough to not pick that shit up.