Photo of a rusted can among sparse sticks and leaves on spotty grass and dirt, by andre_berlin via Pixabay

Muscle

disbelief sustains me 
like gnawed branches

like leavings left
in rotted piles

like smeary take-out wrappers, 
tossed with a sneer

every second, somewhere,
scraps of decadence taunt.
morsels baked from sorrow sown. 
obscuring the meal sneerers prefer i eat — 
my own flesh clean from my bones.

Through all this, 
I remember which animal I am.
Ignore their labels. 
Dissolve their glue.
Remember the truth and Believe.

I care that I’m mostly not believed.
I must care more that I survive.
My muscle grows for
The Challenge 
while I starve.

Can they legislate my votes away
before then? Slaughter me 
on the news when I scream ‘Hell No!’?
Blame my murder on the Black Resilience
that monolithic whiteface wants to smash down?
Can they hold back the smile 
as their disdain runs clear?

I know these answers.

It’s not about ugliness at the top.
Supports are embedded all around.
Some loud. Most tacit.
The one whose name has become a slur 
wears many more faces than his own.

Respite seduces 
as strikes slam hard 
on all sides.
Watch this, drink that, 
absorb the commissioned drug 
to numb. ‘Look forward, not here.’
‘The predators might not skin your hide.’
An ultimate end seduces much sweeter 
than hope hollowed raw, 
but I care what we leave
to the babies, so I hesitate.

Disbelief serves the monolith,
not the starved. 
The #MeToos know.
I have to keep lifting the weight,
growing muscle.
We’ll see if I live 
till my hashtag dents.