I Can’t Do This (A Lament)

I Can’t Do This (A Lament) May 27, 2020

I can’t do this, Lord;
It’s all blasphemy
When we make your
Blood into white-out

That exonerates us
After having made other
People suffocate when
That’s literally how you

Died because we don’t
See you in the face
Of every black man
Who walks our streets

In perpetual danger
Since he is the son
Of man just like a
Carpenter out of

Nazareth which isn’t
A city that’s allowed
To produce kings from
A race of people who

Had been conquered
And thus didn’t have
Coins with emperors
Embossed onto them.

We put on our coins
In God we trust but
We know that what
We mean is that we

Trust white men to
Have all the answers;
I don’t have any answers
Now; I can teach my

Sons not to be Nazis
But will they murder
Black men if they are given
A badge and gun and taught

The tactics of asserting
Their authority; we’ve spent
Centuries asserting that
Your authority gave us dominion.

And I can’t catch my breath
Thinking about all the humans
Who breathe no longer because
They were choked or shot

By white men with absolute
Authority who surely went
To church and heard it
Preached that we should

Love our neighbor and somehow
That failed; your gospel has
Failed our world; the evidence
Is in; we have never stopped

Crucifying you and I can’t
Be part of your failure any
Longer; may no stone sit
On top of another; may every

Megachurch be converted
Into a hospital where free
Health care is given after
The people who spit on those

Who wear masks have had
Their hallelujahs cut off
Mid-sentence by an angel
Who shows them what it’s

Like to have your trachea
Closed by a knee on the
Back of your neck; you’ve
Had two thousand years,

God, to make your people
Love their neighbors and
We turned your cross into
The sword of our empire.

It’s time to start over
And scavenge what we
Can from this rubble
Like Rey digging for

Scraps in a beached
Imperial starship; there
Is no more space for
Our empire to fly in.

We need the slave children
Who force-grab their brooms
To start a new religion now
From the seeds of your blood

Which has never stopped
Being shed even though
The theologians have protected
Themselves from the thought

That God would ever be anything
Other than a marble statue
Who never cries; your tears
Can heal the world when we

Cry them together and understand
That the stones the builders
Keep refusing are the ones
Who have been chosen to lead;

The despised ones who are bringing
To nothing the things that are
Through their martyred flesh,
Despite all the explanations that

Every Karen has to offer
For why they deserved to
Have a knee on the back
Of their neck that stopped them

From breathing; they didn’t have
To die; we should have known
How to love from what you

Taught us, but until we are
Cut to the heart like the
Three thousand who heard
Peter say that they had murdered

Their king, we will not change;
You are every black man who
Walks in our streets not knowing
If bird-watching has become a

Capital offense; you are every
Ivy League professor who learns
That his black skin means he
Will be arrested for getting locked

Out of his own home; you are
Every black child who buys skittles
At the convenience store not
Knowing he will be shot for the crime

Of being a teenager; as long as
Mary is a bleached, ethereal white
Lady whose virginity is her most
Pronounced feature instead of

A sassy Mexican girl with hoop
Earrings who dares to talk back
To her middle school gym coach
Because she has the son of man

In her womb; as long as Jesus
Is an Italian Adonis instead of
A child with saggy pants who
Has always been sent to the principal’s

Office for stupid reasons,
We will continue to kill every
Resurrection of you that comes
To teach us how to be your body.

I cannot do this anymore,
But perhaps you can if enough
White men are cut to the heart
And understand that your blood

Saves us when we see it
Stain the sidewalk in Ferguson,
Missouri despite the best efforts
Of the undocumented laborers

Who were hired to cover up
The sins of white men;
Until we see our sin,
We cannot be saved.


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