A Portrait of Michael Brown that Wasn’t Michael Brown
after Ferguson & The White Card
Black outline on a white space dots indicate entry path
The body is naked. The Black body is naked
except for the dark marks.
A caricature of a young man, of Michael Brown.
But it’s not him. No outline can represent a black body.
White space cannot hold who Michael Brown was.
It looks like a target at a gun range a black body bullseye.
Not a boy. Not a man. A step above a stick figure.
Some might call it art.
Why Black & Brown Boys Don’t Smile
Yes, they are all-American boys,
black & brown shadow shapers,
trying to perform big magic
Yes, they are broke & powerless,
black like me, brown like foreign soil,
becoming bad asses
This is a social history of the
American negro, nigger, nigga, negus
naming bodies of unknown origins
Yes, these boys hunger
for electric arches illuminating
their true names like a torch
Yes, they create themselves
like artists, because they feel
they were born a crime
Of Forgiving My Father Without Meaning To
after Safia Elhillo
My reflection is my father’s reflection stunning in their similarities
[pause, breathe] Sometimes I can’t look at my face memories
his dark chocolate visage angry, yelling my mother cowering
[pause, breathe] My brother and I would be in the other room
stiff. silent We would breathe in unison not too loudly
Father’s words would reverberate off the walls of our 1st floor apt
even the neighbors upstairs would be quiet when he yelled
The silence was louder when father used his fists [pause, breathe]
My mother only cried when father left the apt She did not want
to give him the satisfaction of the pain he caused of the pain
she felt [pause, breathe] Years later, my brother and I are adults,
with our own families Mother is dead. [pause, breathe]
Father is dead. Men are a violent lot. My father
a violent man under educated rural Southern Georgia town
denied opportunities due to the color of his skin
My mother born in South Carolina raised in Brooklyn
When they met both were seeking saviors but only one could
be saved My mother told us, “Do better than me.”
My father showed us – do better than him.
Image Credit: Original graduation photograph of Michael Brown taken by Elcardo Anthony.