I was raised in this nation
and at a very early age I knew the power my skin held.
It held sway over people.
It could in an instant make me the object of scorn
or the recipient of several rounds of gunfire.
It allowed me to shapeshift.
In fact, it could make me any number of men
simply by fitting the description.
It allowed me to be twice as good at whatever
I tried my hand at, simply because I had to,
or it could make me a miraculous athlete
before having ever touched the court.
It gave me an innate rhythm and musicality
that seemed ingrained in my DNA.
And It allowed me to collude with
the most unsavory figures without
suspicion because after all what else could I be?
My skin disqualified me from any honest work.
It wasn’t until I’d made it out that I saw the
man, that I thought I was, clearly in the mirror.
A man programmed to believe what he couldn’t be
well before he knew who he was.
I was trained to keep my hands visible at all times
and to never run through stores
or get comfortable for fear that my
countrymen may become fearful.
And I would perish.
My belief in such ideas is not what upsets me.
What upsets me is my willing acceptance of such
terrorism as normal.