I have the freedom but not the luxury to…

Life…So many thoughts go through our heads as we ponder what our future may hold. So many of us are writing out loud, screaming our distress and labeling our terror. There’s no place for indifference to hide anymore. If you’re not enraged, then you’re simply not paying attention.

My truth – I aspire to write freely and to create positively…and I question the value of adding more words to the red hot inferno of churning blood oozing from our black bodies. Then I know I’ve lost my way and as usual, my overthinking has missed the point, as it usually does, so many times.

Unconsciously, I’m holding my breathe as I listen to an inspirational podcast of a conversation between two black women poets**

I’m learning, accepting, admitting…my hurt, my fears, my sadness. Intellectually, I know the value of our conversations, but I fear the kind of introspective they demand. I can spend days lost in the questioning of beliefs and dreams.

  • I just don’t fit. Where is my truth?
  • I may have the freedom to write about anything I want to, but I don’t have the luxury of ignoring the evil I’ve now seen.
  • I can perceive the level of control and limitations placed on my very power, but I can’t strategize my way enough around it.
  • Sometimes I feel as if I’m dying and aching if I don’t write this.
  • What does it even mean?

Then I rediscover and redeem an understanding of *Audre Lorde’s poem “Power”

This makes my heart die a little. How much it aches deep beyond my core, leaving me raw into the next part…

The end brings such vivid pain but so much realness to the force with which we have always been compelled to make sense of such annihilating hate…

What I know now to be true, as I ponder the imagery of this poem about a life taking police officer, a jury and a society steeped in the freedom to steal justice in 1978.

The cycles we live in become clearer.

In 2020 a story of tragedy on repeat…in June 2021 George Floyd’s killer found guilty and sentenced to two decades in prison…in November 2021 Ahmaud Arbery’s murders found guilty and facing life imprisonment…Justice? I see the mothers summoned by their cries.


Why do I feel like we still can’t feel free…to breathe? to write? to just be?

The rage with which I exist. Debating myself about the meaning of life. The value of living in a world that chokes the choice between poetry and rhetoric…

My son still won’t wear hoodies after sunset. He won’t even go jogging around the neighbourhood. We are trapped. He watches me earnestly as I ache and sink into depressive states. Triggered. Performing. Failing.

I want us to live as ourselves freely…Will we ever get that luxury?


*Read the full poem on “Poetry Foundation”: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/53918/power-56d233adafeb3

**Listen to this podcast on “Ashley M. Jones and Donna Aza Weir-Soley in Conversation”: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/podcasts/156215/ashley-m-jones-and-donna-aza-weir-soley-in-conversation

Check out the poem “8 Minutes and 46 Seconds” read by the author and discussed in the podcast: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/156076/8-minutes-and-46-seconds

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