Righteous or Racist?


I’ve got some things to say.  They may not be things all of ya’ll wanna hear, and some of you may come for me, but that’s alright, I’m ready for that.  There’s nothing new with that.

I don’t really know who this letter is to.  I don’t really know what it is I hope to accomplish by writing it, but I do know that it needs to be written.  Some changes need to be made.  And I’m not coming to you with all the answers, because I’ve got none of them.  I’m out here just as clueless as ya’ll.  Just as helpless as ya’ll.  Just as surrendered as ya’ll…

…and I think that’s what we need to talk about.

Surrender.  Not to the system, because fuck the system.  We need to rage against that shit.  Rage long and hard and strong.

But surrender to ourselves, to our differences.  And here, here I’m talking to my black and brown sisters and brothers.  Here I am talking about the things that keep us from coming together and being the force we are more than capable of being, and are called to be.

I’ve been in a couple tiffs with some of ya’ll.  A sister asked me about them the other night and I couldn’t tell her.  To me, they’re petty and small and don’t matter.  What matters is breaking down the barriers so that we can come together, support each other, lift one another up and drive that energy forward.

Our community is divided, anyone can see that.  A house that’s built on fractured foundation is sure to crumble and fall.  We’re out here trying to build us a new home, and this foundation is not having it.  In some places, it’s solid as a rock and beautiful and strong, but in others, there are these wide gaps, with only tiny pieces touching.  We need to fill in those gaps.  Make a solid platform to move forward. Build up.

And I don’t know how to do that.  I don’t know what that looks like.  But I know it needs to happen.  So I am surrendering myself to you.  I am surrendering myself to this movement. To our lives, to our humanity.

I don’t need to tell ya’ll there was a protest friday night.  You already know, most of you were there putting your bodies and your souls on the line.  I was not.  I showed up after cruelty was already expressed, and bodies were already violated and pressed into the back of a bus and shipped to the Cumberland County Jail.

So I need to honor those fierce as fuck beings who were out there, doing this work.  I need to honor their experiences and acknowledge that I have no idea what it felt like to have my body violated in the deep and viscious ways they did. Have no idea what it felt like to have devils in suits (and you can fight me on that) malicously attempt to strip me of my dignity. I can imagine.  I can imagine the righteous rage and fury and pain and sadness and confusion and so many other feelings that may have been, and may still be swirling through their bodies, but I don’t know.

And it is infuriating to see the response of the Portland community.

Now, I’m talking to the rest of ya’ll.

It is infuriating, but not suprising.  Because this is what we’re talking about.  This is what we have been saying.  Black Lives Matter just turned four.  For four years we’ve been out here talking to you all about the state of the world we live in.  And there is this myth that it doesn’t happen here.  That Portland is safe, that the PPD is different.  Well, it’s not.  A friend said to me that night, as we were driving away from the jail, that Maine isn’t any different. Portland isn’t any different.  We’re just a smaller community. We are small and we haven’t rocked the boat.  Well, now we swinging off this shit and we’re gonna make damn sure it flips over.

Because there was a shift friday night.  And it can’t be moved back.  Won’t be moved back. We’re raising this consciousness and seeing some ugly truths in the process. Some of ya’ll mad.  Good. Stay mad.  But do me a favor, when you are, look in the mirror, study your reflection, is your rage righteous? Or is it racist?  You decide, and then keep listening, we’ll tell you whether you right, or not.



“Breathe.” She said,
And I remembered what it felt like to be alive.

“Breathe.” She said,
And I remembered breath is needed to sustain life,
So long I had been dwelling in the emptiness
Which hangs between life and death
Not wanting to live, but not ready to die
Devoid of wanting, empty of passion
The nothing space, visited only
By sadness and fear

“Breathe.” She said,
And I filled my lungs with air,
Felt my soul rush back into this body


Wise Black Woman

It is not my duty to make you a better person.

This blackness was not
Gifted to me to better you.
To better yourself from knowing
Me, is an honor I gratefully accept

Do not misunderstand that
Gratitude for purpose – intent.

I walk out my days in this skin,
Constantly learning the causes and
Effects it imparts on the world Around me.

Yes, I walk out my days in the
Hope of leaving each place better – wiser.

I do not, however, seek to exist as
A token – an accessory.

Do not look to me to check your
Ignorance – temper your bigotry.
It is not my purpose to
Correct your words and actions

Though make no mistake – I will.

I will root out your bigoted remarks
And throw them in your face,
With the utmost eloquence and grace.

I am a docile sort – a gentle sort;
Until it goes too far
Until you cast me as the Helper –

The Wise Black Woman.

I am black, and I am a
Woman.  I am not however, an
Actor in your play.

Today I opened my eyes and
Found myself mid scene,
Playing a role I did not consent to;

So, I worked out the scene, spat out my lines
And exited stage left – if the show
Must to go on, it must go on

Without me.