July 21, 2016

White Noise

"Thank God my son is white."
Is not a phrase anyone wants to utter.
But, God forgive me, I have.
In the back of my mind
Under my breath
Sitting in front of the television
As I watch another black man killed
While the only right of his we defend
Is the right to remain silent.

Two nights ago, I dreamt of a black mother
Handing me photo after photo of her lost children
Pictures drawn in ragged crayon
Love letters written by innocent little hands
All I could do was weep
As she begged me
"Please, tell their stories."

But, God forgive me. 
I must confess, 
I'm afraid of what they'll say.

These children grow up
We give them school supplies
Food for Thanksgiving 
Coats for the winter
We convince ourselves that our benevolence carries them
That we are doing God's work
That we are building a better future for the poor
Until they no longer look innocent to us.
Until they're criminals for wanting simply to survive.

These men are full of grit
Mistaken for grime.
"Thug" "animal" "up to no good"
This rhetoric might as well be handfuls of dirt
Thrown on top of their caskets

Brothers and sisters, this place has seen far too many graves
Dug by our idle hands
And as the saying goes, Idle hands 
Are the handiwork of the devil.

On Aprils

Ten years ago, I sat in the dining hall of a Christian camp. A man my father's age sat with me. It was April, and I had no idea... I had...