The Too Easy Death of Some Young People
(For too many educators in this nation, watching your students leave on Friday; you find yourself haunted by a tragic pre-memory; which one, which one, may not come back to school on Monday; and no matter how much I tried; I could never describe that feeling as normal)
It’s easier done then believed,
they are remarkable in their anonymity,
the faceless victims of guns out of anybody’s control,
the consistent marching band of death,
amazing in its callous and indiscriminate resiliency,
a determined and successful effort to put an end to dreams,
marked by graves that arrive too soon, nameless
sometimes it’s like a cloud that just won’t lift;
over and over,
the designated march of innocent pallbearers,
fearing they are next to be carried;
the angry, fiery, obligatory official speeches:
“We are not going to take it anymore!”; again,
(you can find the call and response chant in your program: “Yes we will….take more!”)
they are all buried in the least visited parts of our memories;
the back part of the bus that is designated for children who don’t really matter.
One day singing, one day dying,
these normal streets converted to sacrificial grounds,
dedicated to dishonor the life of our youth.
But who cares?
not the shameless death proprietors with lots of loose cash,
not associations who love, and are loved by their guns,
its, the loss of life, liberty, and children who will pursue only a brief happiness,
not the politicians who fail to pass a full courage check Bill,
(passing campaign dollar bills and checks however are ok);
not to worry, their children (so they think) are safe,
it is only one of the “don’t count kids”;
the stray bulleted, just happen to be in the way kid,
a regular around the way honor roll kid,
(who seem to be on a roll to great things kid),
a humanly right kid,
who did not understand that her way was a no wayzone,
waging a war on her way to bright hopes and dreams,
the terrible collection of collateral damages our senses,
we know her name only because she sang for Obama,
but others did not make the bus,
they will never sing for anyone,
they will never sing.
But for Hadiya it was like living inside of a dream,
(“girl you so lucky”)
her parents were so proud and there were countless phone calls,
to granny, grandpa, auntie, uncle, cousin, neighbors,
and a church mother blessed her with $20 spending money:
(“a woman’s got to have her own spending money when she travels”).
leaving a black killing zone to sing for a Black President,
what was she thinking on that inauguration day?
school assignments and study to stay on the honor roll,
this “strange” feeling of childhood colliding into adulthood,
the SAT/ACT, school clubs, next year’s courses, college tours, promotion, graduation, the prom, the prom dress, how she looked, her nails, her hair?
(My God this was a real teenager)
what was she thinking……
about college, about a career, about dreams after dreams?
did she text somebody: “I am here, singing for the President”;
“I am here, mom and dad”;
did she think about her own children living in a safe neighborhood?
where streets are for walking, playing and talking about the future,
was she just thinking random teenage girl things?
(the latest phone, her favorite song, the latest dance, the present cutie?)
what was she thinking?
growing up in Brooklyn, I heard people say: “bullet, don’t have no eyes”;
but bullet also don’t have no heart,
just like we don’t have no heart,
as we wait,
content to wait for the next death announcement.