8 This Piece Doesn’t End, I Just Stop Writing Things Down

Created by LaKeisha Morris

 

I was revising my resume

Because I realized some code (then, if I’m lucky, real eyes) would be

Scanning it for all the right words, the right skills, the right

Students

As the freshest fruit, plucked from graduating classes

That managed to pass during a pandemic

And the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement,

Reignited when another Black person’s life was snuffed out

And people took notice and took to the streets.

I remember how hopeful I was

Seeing people all over the country marching, masked,

How like before, the volume of videos of cops brutalizing peaceful protesters

Made my heart ache and blood boil.

 

I always cared about social justice as a subject

And was aware that racism still existed, but didn’t take the

Steps to seek out the bigger picture until

The topic of police brutality made headlines

When I was a high schooler.

I’m now in my 20s and well-read

And black has taken over my wardrobe.

My art as a weapon, a canvas the warzone.

 

I keep typing on that resume- each manicured word is

Increasing the chance that I’ll be seen and heard

By some interviewer, on Zoom,

Who will probably read off some document,

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I might say “I see myself in the mirror and blackness looks back,

Black curls in braids or maybe

Twists. I see myself in Timnit Gebru

And wonder why bother doing grad school

Giving away pieces of my personhood by pen-stroke to advance this field

when “ethical, diverse” companies could reject me for being both of those things.

Some days I don’t see anything because life feels unreal.

I see myself in rhymes written about melanin, eliminating structural racism, and

How ironic it is that people must fight for peace.

The streets may be quieter, but the work has not ceased.

I see myself digging my heels into the earth during this tug-of-war to make things a bit better

Before they get a whole lot worse.

Give racists an inch, they’ll take a mile, take a

Life, take our rights again in different ways.

But this is about me in five years.

A future made better by the strides I make

In anti-racism work is priceless.

Maybe I’ll stay hopeful if I am reminded of the beauty that my Black life is.”

 

But I’d likely robotically recite my plans to be

Busy working for them.

As I write this, I wonder what carefully rehearsed expression

Would be plastered on my face.

People won’t see my degree, journey, or hard work first,

They will always see my race.

 

I’d like to think I’m living in the future, but I’m in the right now.

I cut my heart open like a pomegranate and this is what I found.

 

I want to be a person first, but the Black can’t come second.

I want to prioritize classes,

But there is so much work to be done to fight racism and so few people caring about it.

I’m not afraid of death, I’m worried about

Who and what I’d be leaving behind,

That I failed to help make the world

A better place for humankind.

 

I thought of Toyin Salau today, that

Pushed me past my limit and I mourned once again.

Black women deserve to feel safe every day.

Racism is just one puzzle piece to the problems plaguing society.

Tears on my face and in my heart will just have

To dry and scar over, no breaks in or brakes on my movement.

 

I wonder how many people are aware

Of the trauma and anxiety experienced by Black folks

In relation to their proximity to claustrophobic systems whose

Design included white supremacy in the blueprint.

Abstracted, extracted, poorly disguised,

Hidden behind another layer and presented as progress.

Sewn into the fabric of society,

Etched into the lens the world views Black people through.

 

Murder, mass incarceration, discrimination,

Micro-aggressions, colorism, cultural appropriation,

I can’t predict where I’d be in five years if I can’t

Even predict if the world will be a better place in

Six months for me, my Black peers, relatives, neighbors, friends.

In the end, at least I find solace in the murals I see downtown.

I can’t force myself to end this with something mind-blowing and profound.

 

I’d like to think I’m living in the future, but I’m in the right now.

This piece doesn’t end, I just stop writing things

Down.

License

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Black Lives Matter Collective Storytelling Project by A University of Washington Tacoma cross-course collaboration between TSOC 265 and TCOM 347 courses. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.