Monthly Archives: November 2014

Stay Woke

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The night is black
Our skin is black
Yet the world flashes
With lights
That are red and blue
As the world wakes up
To an orchestra of sirens
After the introductory
Boom boom boom.
And your son or your daughter
Your brother or your sister
Your nephew or niece
Comes to you and says,
“I heard the fireworks.
They woke me up.
I see the reds
And the blues in the sky,
But I don’t see the big boom.
Where’s the spark?
Where’s the explosion?”
And you look that child
Deep in their eyes
And you realize
“Baby, that’s exactly
What I’m trying to find.
That’s the thing I ask myself.”
And you aren’t feeding him lies.

You truly think to yourself
When will people see the spark?
When will they hear an explosion?
When will my brothers and my sisters
Wake up and see the red and blue hues
For what they really are?
Those alarms don’t mean
Music to my ears.
They make opportunity
For my fears.
The fact that the badge to me
Is more of a warning
Of the devil in blue
Than an angel on earth
Means we need to wake up.
We have to rise from our slumber
And make our own explosion,
Our own thunder.

Now why is it that our children,
Who can’t even vote,
Are dying in the name of America?
Why are they dying in America?
And why is it
That when they die
Our protests are seen
As hyperboles and jokes?
Why must they die
For our people to wake up?
For their people to wake up?
Because if I wear
A black hoodie and blue jeans
That means
I’m the director
Of the city’s crime scenes?
Because “protect and serve”
Can be exchanged
For “project and slay”?
Why is there a new case each day?
At least that’s how it seems
With the most recent of things.
There’s always a new one.

Hashtag rest in peace my angel.
Hashtag you got your wings.
Hashtag never forget.
Rest in peace
Because we haven’t found it here.
Rest in peace
Because we’re still restless.
Rest in peace
Because dying is the only way to get it.
That’s the price of peace?
Death?

The irony of the land of the free
And the home of the brave.
Where our people
Fear the youth
And dark skin.
Where the new slaves
Are still shackled in chains.
Where our leaders
Pray we stay sleeping.
Land of the free
And home of the brave.
One nation under God.
One nation together
As long as we stay divided
From bottom to top.
One nation united
As long as you stick to a curfew,
Walk on sidewalks,
Stay away from skittles,
And find a way to hide
The melanin you inherited
From your dad and/or mom.

Now call me selfish,
But with a father who looks Arab
And a brother who knows he’s black.
My father is named Martin.
My brother is named Martin.
I’m just grateful
I’m not hashtagging
Rest in peace to my Martins.
Because I know all too well
No one is safe
Unless I have the right friends,
Know the right places,
And disown the ancestors
Who make up my faces,
I’m not safe.
My family is not safe,
My friends are not safe,
My fellow Americans are not safe.
All college educated,
All clean records,
All good people,
But no one is safe.

Officer, what was my crime?
Was it the fact that I was out at 1am
With my brother
On my way to Taco Bell
Because I was hungry?
Or was it the fact that my skin
Blends more into the night than yours?
And I can’t deny it
My roots aren’t from the land of the free
And the home of the brave.
You’re right about that, Officer.
I’m no Native American
Because I can’t trace my ancestry
To the Iroquois or the Cherokee.
I just know I was born on U.S. soil
That was stolen from the Spanish
In a war I had no part in.
And, on this night,
That I choose to get a quesadilla
And nachos with guacamole on the side
I see five patrol cars pass by
And I tell my brother
“Junior be careful I’m scared.
Something doesn’t feel right.”
And I didn’t feel safe
‘Till we were both
In our home.
I didn’t hear any boom boom booms.
There were no fireworks tonight.
No rest in peace tweets,
But a friendly reminder
To stay woke.
.

Happy Veteran’s Day!

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As the daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend, of military veterans, I wanted to take today to honor the people who have served in or are currently serving in the armed forces.  I know the sacrifices that need to be made to be able to wear those uniforms and it is a position that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Being part of the military is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted and I feel honored to have such close ties to the military.  From the days of watching my father come home in his uniform or seeing my uncle retire to even witnessing members of the military honoring my relatives after their passing, I have always had respect for the military and their veterans.  Whenever I see a veteran, I always feel a special attachment to them because the life of veterans is all too familiar to me.  So, if you see a veteran today or any day, make sure to show them respect and remember what they’ve done for you.

Happy Birthday Junior!

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People constantly tell me that they are jealous of the relationship I have with my brother. We are extremely close, we get along better than most siblings, and we act as if we’re twins, even though we’re three years apart. When people point this out, I can’t deny it, but the truth is my brother and I have been solidifying this relationship for YEARS, so I think, after all of our hard work, we deserve a good relationship.

When times got hard, rather than separating and growing apart, we stayed close together, becoming each other’s support system and we fed off each other’s strength. This was how we managed to progress and develop our individual peace, balance, and success, despite whatever madness was going on. Over the years, my brother has become my best friend, my business partner, and my mentor, among other roles he plays in my life and I honestly could not have created a better big brother… Well, maybe he could be less stubborn, but I guess nobody’s perfect. Either way, I literally cannot imagine my life without him and I feel honored to share so many journeys with him.

Today is my brother’s 25th birthday and, although he has accomplished so many things already, I know there is so much more he’ll achieve in the next chapter of his life. Happy Birthday Junior!