Poetry by Charles Joseph

The Black Experience

I like to maximize my time.

I hate wasting time AND I want to have more time, so
I make slight changes to fulfill this desire.

One being: waking up very early to get a head start on my day.
It’s necessary for my ambition.
I have to give my mind time to buffer, feel free.
Time to think.

But when I wake up so early in the morning,
Like around 6am
I do think, but damn
I can’t say I’m happy with what I unnoticeably think about

These scenes start playing in my head:
Potential encounters with the police, that a…
Black person is subjected to.
All the time that I meant to give myself;
That I work so hard to earn
Tic away as these thoughts flood my brain

How will I come to my end?
What will be the black man’s crime, this time?

Will I be guilty—you know, punishable by death—
Because I felt more comfortable with a mask on?
Will my execution happen after I’ve been woken up from my restful night?
But then to find out it was actually the wrong address
But it’s always the wrong address
It’s always the wrong weapon
It’s always the wrong decision

But a life is taken, and in life there is no takebacks.
Maybe carrying snacks home is punishable by death. I don’t know
But, in reality, I know my only crime is being black,
Something to warrant a false accusation that’ll get my neck kneed on

By now over 30 minutes have passed of me just standing in my bathroom
Lost in pensiveness
Toothpaste sagging off the toothbrush numbly held in my left hand

I really hope it does not end this way. So I practice
Rerun the possible encounters in my head; prepare for all the scenarios
Because, well, this is not a drill—Niggas really dying out here.
So I look in the mirror, and I imagine:
I could comply if I am told to stay calm as there are guns and yells aimed at me;
I would obey if 3, or even 6, police officers were stomping on me—pressing me down
While ordering me to stop moving

I could do it. I’m sure.
But I’m also sure they each thought the same thing, and yet…

By now, maybe an hour has already passed
I’m tired of seeing images in the mirror.
I wonder what my white friends do with all their time?
Especially the miscellaneous time spent not involuntarily imagining themselves in deadly situations warranted by the color of their skin

What do you do with all your extra time?

The time I spend looking at my black body in the mirror
Imagining the unending innovative possibilities of how I may die, legally murdered; lynched

What do white people do with all their extra time?

Do you leverage that time to, perhaps, take control over a society?
Maybe rule a world?
Create schemes to push those that are not you further below
And then have them point fingers at each other?

Every morning, I wake up like 2 hours earlier than I really need to.
I want to fuel my ambition
Give myself time to chase those big dreams
You know, do the impossible.
But, instead, I just walk around–air in my head
My body stuck.
Mind in imagination.
And I think, I think; I imagine, I imagine; I wonder, I wonder
Without noticing that 3 hours has already passed
Plus I still have to write this poem…
Maybe that is why we’re always behind.


4 responses to “The Black Experience”

  1. Our world isn’t kind. Native American children in mass graves in Canada. Immigrants children locked up in prisons. People being killed with no reason for. I believe. The poor must gather. If we don’t stand as one people and one earth. We will fall, one by one. Time for a million people walk. For us to stand as one for the children of our world. It is sad. We fell backwards. We must go forward my friend. Every person need shelter, food and opportunity. I pray we learn. Every child is a blessing, every life is a miracle. Look at our world. The wolf is attacking the poor countries. Saudi Arabia Arabia and Israel trying to erase a race for the land. A million people standing as one. The government would not appreciate.

    1. I think you’re right. You’re very right. We need everyone to stand. It will be a very hard thing to do, but I believe that is what needs to happen as well. We all need to get up, let capitalism fall on its neck until the government listen to us. That’s how mlk did it. That’s how it has to happen

      1. I agree my friend. 215 murdered Native American Children. I am angry. How many lessons do we need to learn? The children are are wealth. Not big business. I appreciate the comment my friend.

        1. Of course! Thank you for your input. I hope with more conversations like this, a serious change will be triggered.

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