“In Case #BlackLivesMatter is Not Clear” by Angel C. Dye

March 6, 2018

This poem is part of our #BlackLivesMatter special issue, guest-edited by Katrina Otuonye. Read more at our #BlackLivesMatter2018 tag.

In Case #BlackLivesMatter is Not Clear

Pump bullets in our bodies
like stick pins in voodoo dolls.

Some black, black, real black magic
the way evidence and accountability disappear
before we are toe tagged.

And no matter how many times we refortify,
we are not brick.
We are bodies blitzed
by legally sanctioned homicide.


Make America Great Again and #alllivesmatter
look like cousins, close kin—
sound like coconspirators
erasing the experiences and pain
of we who weren’t always legitimate in this country.

Acquittals, mistrials, and lack of indictments
write our obituaries in hashtags
while news media fake mourns us into propaganda
for momentary profit.


We’re left wondering what’s next,
where to hide here in these catacombs,
this graveyard,
how to breathe through our encasings made of loose flesh and fear.

For our own sake we try to balance
fighting the grief that threatens to ignite us
and fighting the systems designed to snuff us out.


Angel C DyeAngel C. Dye is a poet from Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas who writes to ask, process, and practice catharsis even when her skinfolk cannot or do not. She writes because growing up in the Pentecostal church taught her that there are different ways to pray. Her writing unpacks mental illness and unconventional or fragmented family ties. She is committed to illuminating injustice and suffering but also joy and triumph in black narratives. Angel is a graduate of Howard University and an MFA in Creative Writing candidate at the University of Kentucky. Her poetry has appeared in African Voices MagazineSixfold Journal, and About Place Journal. Visit her online at edenworkspublishing.com.

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