searching 4 milk & honey when america has run dry & the police want u dead

Editor’s note: This article contains descriptions of racial violence.

“there will be no pictures of pigs shooting down brothers on instant replay. there will be no pictures of pigs shooting down brothers on instant replay.” – Gil Scott-Heron

the goal of this piece is to distort how we see and hear language in the way that Black bodies are manipulated in American public news every day: 

i read on the newz today that the police handkuffed a Black man to a hospital bed. a slave patrol officer handkuffed a Black man to a hospital bed. then shot him. murdered his body down six inches in yt hospital bed sheets. i read another headline that sed a 13-year-old child put his hands up before. being shot. dead. but they didn’t feel like saying who pulled the trigger so they released the footage of the boy’s death without his family’s consent instead. 

in seventh grade, i remember watching a man running for his life. wearing an emerald green t-shirt & his back turned when a yt officer raised his gun, firing through his spine & reaching his heart. i watched Walter Scott drop to the ground, lifeless. Scott was lynched the same day MLK Jr. was assassinated half a lifetime ago. it keeps taking death for Americans to notice.

fourth grade, skittles. second grade, rainbow hair barrettes. tenth, i read that a man was found hanging from a basketball hoop. last year, a woman sleeping. last week, a father driving. 

i fear that there have been so many names that i’ve run out of tears. i want to remember them all. i claw to find their names, but know there are more than i will ever be able to find. this ain’t childhood trauma no more, this is haunting my teenage years & the grandmother in oklahoma city screaming for her dignity in front of her home. is haunting my grandmother stuck in her house watching nothin’ but Black bodiez burning. we are barraged by pictures of Black people dying every day. it plays in cyclez on the cnn newsreel like criminal injustice trialz & bail bondz that fund America’z tagline. there’z this pain i still have no way to explain so i call it numbness. it’s like wishing i were the one dead, instead. not them. but knowing i don’t want to be but could have been, with them. because of our beautiful skin.

theze are plots to make Black people believe we are something we’re not. this disease has been running through this country’s veinz since genesis: ytness is the virus. ytness takes. ytness burrowz itself where it is not wanted. will make you ask why you’re still alive & thank your oppressor for letting you live another day.

do u know what it’s like to only recognize yourself as a corpse? in history class you either c yourself with scarz on your back or hanging from a tree. it’s this feeling when u can’t believe u lived to c another day & ur still breathing & still loving even though

waking up feels like losing my breath again & again; throat clenched, i can barely speak; barely think without ceeing the blood so i try to think of smaller things like how this year will be my 20th birthday then i am brought back all over again when i remember how afraid i am that i won’t make it past 19. i feel this same fear when i walk down w. lorain street or a hallway because i don’t get to take off this gorgeous Blackness or choose how they c me. 

body cam tricksterz tell us that footage of our death is worth more than our life. footage of our death pays for courtroom feez but not quite enuf to uphold accountability or train officers to know the difference between a taser & a gun. takes away our humanity. a visual reminder of our fate should we be caught not being yt at the wrong place & wrong time. forces us to forget that: 

He was a man! He was a man! He was a boy! She was a mother! She was a person! We are human beings! we R joyful, we R powerful, we R spiritual, we R invincible. Black is bountiful. brown is bountiful. Blackness is abundance. & we R unbreakable.

they tried to confine y:our Blackness, define y:our Blackness as something to hate. i watch. listen. Cry. Shout. repeat. i try to find happy again. left searching 4 milk & honey cuz liberals only want to give me bullets. ignorance has the power to kill so please take your knee off my neck so i can burn down this system trying to erase us. can u c me without wanting 2 kill me? c us?

Ma’Khia Bryant

Daunte Wright

Adam Toledo

Miles Jackson

Tamir Rice

Aiyana Stanley-Jones

Eric Garner

John Crawford III

Ahmaud Arbery

Michael Brown

Daniel Prude

Charleena Lyles 

Walter Scott

Sandra Bland

Alton Sterling

Philando Castile

Natasha McKenna

George Floyd

Breonna Taylor