11 moons of white history month-
Spoken in hushed whispers over designer coffee.
Politically, properly you want me to say her name but when I asked you to say her name, you just whisper hard speculations and thoughts of Black surrender, Black supplication to this entity, this rock that landed on us that you now make us carry like Sisyphus. You whisper, gesticulate, thoughts of maybe she should have complied…
But Smokey the bear said, only you can prevent forest fires, but she was in her car and smoking ain’t illegal. But y’all started this forest fire and we are no longer solitary trees fallen in a forest that no one can hear.
But you still let white might equal white right and off the hook for murder everyday. I mean only in the these Dis-United States of America can a white kid murder and have it labeled a sickness. “He has affluenza.” Then surely white privilege is a disease.
But all my sister did was ask a question, yet you still want to say all lives matter?
I can whisper her name too. I can shout it, scream it and laugh in your face while you wear your Amazon “say her name” shirt and put more money in the pockets of those who question things like why we Juneteenth and black-eyed peas and record every traffic stop. And all lives can matter loud as you want during the months of white history. But this time you gone have to wait.
Chattel slavery is commodified slavery. It’s where people have a price. They can be bought and sold. It’s where you have a price on your head. And your crown is worthless.
But Sandra’s price for living 28 short years was the price of her dying alone with nothing but concrete walls, pissy floors and lies to keep her warm.
And it’s nothing short of horrible irony and a crystal-clear explanation that this officer-overseer can hide behind the number twelve. It’s the number of months in a year, hours on a clock face and the number of members on a court jury.
But it’s also the number of cosmic order, and way more than 12 of my faces have gone down, that makes you out of order, no matter what the jury says.
And at night sometimes, when I hear another face like mine has been lost, I wonder, “Sandra, have you seen Emmitt?”
Did you tell him, “Emmitt you can look now. They yelling our names. I didn’t let you live alone just to be hanged alone.”
Sandra have you seen Amadou Diallo? Did he give Trayvon the gun they said he had?
Sandra, did you greet Breonna? Did you hold her hand while she walked to light? Did you take her to meet Harriet? Did she say, “sisters you ain’t gotta wear a white dress, cuz white don’t mean purity here. And why play harps, when you can have drums?”
And it’s a damn shame that injustice, and fire, and struggle, and famine and fear become the tethers that keep us together. And we have to be bilingual in hate just to make it through a traffic stop. But Sandra, didn’t speak the language, and Eleanor Bumpers and Alberta Spruill weren’t fluent either and died because of it.
And I don’t have to say her name if I don’t want to. I can just write it on the line when they ask mine.
My name is her name, and his name, and their names, all the way back to the motherland. Every beat of my heart is me crying her name. “Come home Sandra Bland, come home.”
It’s the whisper on the wind-
Sandra Bland, Sandra Bland where you gone Sandra Bland?
Cuz it is night, and it ain’t safe for decent folks. Don’t roll your window down, or open the door, or even eat skittles after dawn. But in all honesty, no matter what they do, ain’t a jail cell in creation strong enough to confine you.
Information is the real currency, and Sandra you made us all the richer and they try just make us poorer.
But I love you Sandra,
And love makes us never poor.
Love you, gingerbread mama,
More than thirsty grass loves morning dew
Because your Black face is mine,
And without you,
I’d be nothing and own a sky of sleep and not even revolutionary dreams could wish me you.
But now you rest with angels of brown,
And everything is everything and y’all dance up there with soft affirmations,
Trying not to wake up the sun.
–Leslie Bivans 8/10/20