If I Should Die Before I’m Woke

If I Should Die Before I’m Woke January 17, 2017

​If I should die before I’m woke, don’t sanitize my image
Lie my thoughts in state but leave me as I was, don’t scrub me clean
Wrestle with the things I said,
then amended,
then sured down on because I was growing and I sometimes changed my mind

If I should die before I’m woke,
tell my entire story
not just the parts that fit your image of me
Don’t erase my former self
Speak of the conservatism and religiosity in my youth
and of my tension with faith and empire in the same breath
Because before I loved peace, I justified violence
I can only accept justice or love as parts of my legacy
if my journey is held in tact
and I am rendered whole

If I should die before I’m woke and my personhood is whitewashed
Baptize me in rainbow hued waters, anoint me with ebony, coconut oil, and cocoa butter
Then ensure that all depictions of me are stained with Ruby Woo
Make it your business to paint me unapologetically Queer, Black, and Femme
because I found myself by accepting what others used to marginalize me

If I should die before I’m woke,
Cringe at my missteps
Rebuke my sense of callousness
Point to the places where I tried but still didn’t get it right
Because God is God and I am not
so I need my humanity to be upheld
Find ways to root me to the dust
for it’s in holding me accountable that you can see what work is left to do


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