I Was Not There

I do not entirely agree

with the actions of my ancestors

cannot say with a straight face that I would have stood there

In the crossfire of oppression, falling

while being bit by dogs

smiling

while being spit on

not with a straight face will I say

that I would have been there

to ask my oppressors their permission

to walk down the street

but I was not there

and me not being there leads me to do nothing

but honor their legacy in humility

I do not know the taste of their humiliation

as closely as they experienced it

my young palate is a prejudiced mixture

of what I’ve seen in footage and read in books

I did not feel the lash

or salt in-between their wounds

know nothing of the seasoning

of stripped identity

of throats closing in on tongues

I know only of gentle waters

the kind that bathes, and cooks and quenches the thirst

I know nothing of the kind that pierces

the skin on contact

I do not know because I was not there

but I can write

like Baldwin did

as a witness

I can write the stories

and un-fairy tale the tragedy

of being colored

to make alive again

a history left virtually unknown

because I was not there

not when Moses died or Malcolm slain

but I can write

articulating the suffering

of the now silent

 

Copyright©2017 by Yecheilyah Ysrayl. All rights reserved.


Yecheilyah (e-see-lee-yah) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet of nine published works including her soon-to-be released short inspirational guide “Keep Yourself Full.” Learn more by exploring Yecheilyah’s writing on this blog and her website at yecheilyahysrayl.com. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is her latest novel and is available now on Amazon.com.

Why I Speak

Why I Speak

“We often forget that the current state of Black Americans is directly related to history.”

Black Then Staff

It is clear that we live in a system that is unfair and a civilization that is not just. I speak of these things not because I want to focus on the negative experience of blacks in America only. I speak of these things not because I’m a dark person who just wanna keep bringing up bad stuff. I speak of these things because we’ve become comfortable here in this land. We have been blinded from the truth as a people. We’ve forgotten that the constitution did not include us and that civilization for us is outside of this system. We’ve been tricked into believing that we are citizens in this land and that we have some kind of rights here. We’ve forgotten that when “All men were created equal” that didn’t include us. For what to the slave is the 4th of July?

You see we’ve forgotten where we’ve come from and as a result have no idea where we’re going. How can a slave pursue freedom when he thinks that he is already free? You see the black man does not exist. Black is a color, not a nation of people. Where is African American land? It does not exist. Africa and America are the combinings of two continents. There are over 50 countries in Africa, how then can “African” properly define a people? Which country in Africa are we talking about? African American is also therefore not a nation of people.

I speak because our roots stretch deeper than colors, bywords, proverbs, and mockeries that conceal true identities.  I speak because we forget that we were never part of this constitution. To amend. It means to alter, modify, and to revise. This document had to be revised, altered, and modified just to include you. No justice no peace, my people. It means that there’s no justice for you here and there’s no peace here either. This is the world we live in. We condemn the Confederate flag and we praise the American flag because we’ve been blinded to think there’s a difference between the two. They both drip with the blood of the saints.

We continue to march and to protest because we believe it will change things. How is it that we’ve gone from fighting for freedom to settling for Civil Rights? What is a civil right? What about human rights? So yes, I speak. I speak because we think we know slavery and we know nothing. I speak because we think we know freedom and we know nothing. I speak because we think we have rights and we have nothing. I speak because we think we know justice in a land that is anything but just.  Don’t matter who becomes president. It is the system that is broken and it is my responsibility to speak.