Nicole Newman

Black Ruminations

Some things are known before they are said
You can tell the formality
The rehearsed cadence in his voice
As a white man stands and delivers his brand of justice
The way he has been indoctrinated to believe that truth
And right lie in the hands and minds of those
With more power
Better arguments
More facts
And a better articulation
And more guns

My hair raised ever so gently on my arms
My mother crying in the phone
Telling me she worries
About bobby at night
In dark
Past a curfew of respectability
When good boys are home

My same mother once told me she
Wasn’t political
But I guess the personal
The profound
The profane can pull it out of you
I asked though my tears
Where is my brother?

He gets on the phone slow scared unsure of what I will say
Not bob bob
Not his stage name of epic mind of lo
Do you see what your life is worth I ask
Yes he says
Then that is all that matters I say

I keep going back and forth between pain and anger
Tears and outrage
I just keep thinking God do you love us?
Then why isn’t our liberation top on the priority list
Before rising the sun
And pulling the moon out
Before snow fall
And dusk setting
And seasons changing
Why isn’t our liberation top on the to do list
Do you keep moving it around your calendar
Like I do the things I don’t really want to do

I keep thinking will this make us stop buying bobby shmurda
Will this remember black is beautiful
Call us back to black power like the 76 ebony magazine I found

Will we decide we are more than whitewashed faces
And salaries and degrees
More like kings and queens
More than soul food
And basketballs and running on fields
That we don’t own

I want our freedom
But I know it might cost
But tonight I would be willing to pay it
With my own body
Offer me on the cross like Jesus
Since god is a black woman anyway
Crucify me
Let me blood run in streets like black boys
Killed to soon
Anything to release all the tears I feel

Dear Mike.
We failed
We tried
The system beat us again
We are sorry
We thought this time
In your name we prayed
And danced
And worked
And organized
We believed

We cry about your death
What will we do for the boys who live
We cried about injustice
What will be give up for freedom

Harriet said she could have freed more if you
Convinced them they were slaves
Mike maybe you can break the chains

We cry miscarriage
But we abort the mission
Mike I’m praying your death give us vision
Let it be the thing that helps us see
I don’t believe in justice
I believe in black
And being free

If I teach you to bow then your back is bent
if I teach you how to fight you will be killed
if I teach you to love yourself than maybe
you may survive



Nicole Newman is a poet, organizer and lover of black people. She lives in Washington DC and enjoys sunflowers and books.