Konch Magazine - "Your Love is My Harbor" by Lateef McLeod

Who will protect the young black boys in the suburbs?

 

Who will protect us from you?

You who fear us,

because of our hoodies,

our loud hip hop,

our darker hue.

Our brash bravado

that does not bow to your whim,

your whip,

your baton.

Now our defiance is too much

that you cut us down with guns.

 

And we thought we were safe,

if we move our sons into a nice neighborhood.

If we gave them a good education

and got them into a good school.

We as young men would be accepted,

not be a threat to you.

 

But even if we get an elite Stanford education,

and some swagger in on step

you are quick to call us a thug

if our tongues become too haughty for your liking.

Must be always even tempered and well mannered

less you deem us obnoxious.

Call us a gorilla

just because we turned up

in front of a prissy blonde white woman.

Are you for real?

 

You who have been killing us

every since we got to this place.

Overworked to death in those sugar and cotton plantations,

oil drenched whips left blood strained streaks

down our backs.

We would cry with outstretched hands

as our sons and daughters were ripped from our grasp

and sold down the river.

 

You who devised an apartheid system after slavery

just to avoid being near to us.

Where you made our men underpaid field hands,

our women domestic maids

and made our boys into alligator bait.

For real, you made them alligator bait.

 

It was like you became addicted to killing us

we became the bloodied strange fruit

swinging from southern trees.

You used to gather around

and watch the life

being strangled from us

right above you.

 

And no age was safe from your wrath.

Emmitt Till, 14 years old.

Beaten and pummeled beyond recognition

all because he whistled at a white woman.

Oscar Grant, 22 years old.

Handcuffed and pinned down

between Messerly's knee

and the Fruitvale Bart platform.

Murdered with a bullet shot in the back.

Travon Martin, just turned 17 year old.

Walking to his father's house

with a bag of Skittles

minding his own business.

When George Zimmerman

stocked him,

accosted him,

threw him to the ground,

and shot him dead.

He said It was Travon's hoodie

that made Zimnerman think he was a criminal.

Alan Blueford, 18 years old.

Was chased by the police

and was shot down in cold blood

on these cold Oakland streets.

All because Alan ran

the cop gave the excuse

that he was up to no good.

Then there was Jordan Davis, 17 years old!

Who Michael Dunn murdered

just because  Davis played loud hip hop

in the car with his friends,

Dunn deemed them all thugs

and thought to kill them all

before they killed him.

Even though he was no danger

from unarmed teenagers

from the suburbs.

 

Not one of the murders

of Emmitt, Oscar, Trayvon, Alan, or Jordan

were convicted of first degree murder

in the trials right after the crime.

It beg the question,

why are you scared of us

when you kill us

without much repercussion.  

When you think about it,

the real monster to be feared

was always you.

 

Lateef McLeod