Skip to Content

Robert E. Lee and I Have a Staring Contest

By M. Kamara

And a white person says racism is dead
and a white person jokes about slavery
and a white person lives unbothered
and a white person screams about immigrants
and a white person asks if I speak African
and a white person touches what is not theirs
and all I see are white people taking what is not theirs
and a white person bumps into me
and a white person bumps into me
and a white person bumps into me
and a white person walks through me
but I can’t stop staring at Robert
and I can’t stop crying
and I can’t stop help feeling like

































and the concrete swallows me whole
and Robert E. Lee is still standing.




Listen as M. Kamara reads "Robert E. Lee and I Have a Staring Contest."

Added: Thursday, February 6, 2020  /  Used with permission. M. Kamara’s poem was awarded Third Place in the 2020 Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Contest, sponsored by Split This Rock. Richard Blanco lent his generous acumen as judge for the contest.
M. Kamara
Photo by Abriel Armour.

M Kamara is a 21 year old poet, playwright, screenwriter, and woman of the world. She grew up in Raleigh, Atlanta, London, San Francisco, and Northern Virginia. Each place has opened her up to new experiences and different people. She strongly believes that she’s only good at what she does because of all the people she’s met. M began writing in fifth grade and hasn’t stopped since! She won both her 11th and 12th grade talent shows with her original written poetry. She was a member of the 2018 DC Youth Slam Team and the 2019 VCU CUPSI Team. She self-published her first collection of poetry, Somewhere Among the Trees, during the Summer of 2019, designing, printing, and binding the books herself.

Other poems by this author