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when white supremacy kills me

By Justice Ameer

when white supremacy kills me

when white supremacy kills me
don’t let them scrub my rage from internet
demand i be both angry and righteous

when white supremacy kills me
remember my name and never let it come out of their mouths
until it is no longer a delicacy for my people

when white supremacy kills me
use my proper pronouns
make them choke on every syllable of their fragile language
craft tongues so cultured they can never be stolen

when white supremacy kills me
and they release my nudes
celebrate the angles
flood every site with your most joyous picture and mine
submerge them in a sea of Black bodies alive
Black smirks & Black smiles

when white supremacy kills me
drown out the mugshot with every lipstained photo you can find
drench the waves with afro & fist & face painted for glory
soak their spin in acid and remind them
blood is a haunting promise

when white supremacy kills me
become a murder of crows
sharpen your beaks and your feet
unleash the war cries from your throat
do not fret when they sound like mourning
preen your sable beauty and pick this nation clean to its bones

when white supremacy kills me
command your Black to scorch the earth
singe every cage & every vault that keeps us bound
melt the iron into homes for our elders
claim every gem and return it to the earth
remember fire is a life giving gift even as it spreads

when white supremacy kills me
listen to my sisters like your life depends on it
because they will be the only ones to save you

when white supremacy kills me
do not make me a martyr
make me a history
make me the last one
make me the final name
with all of your might

when white supremacy kills me
do not let them kill you
or your hope or your fight
do not let them shackle you
or contain you or command you
do not let them scare you
or praise you or pity you
die loud
if you must
because this battle will cost lives
but you will not let them take life from you any longer

when white supremacy kills me
promise you will not forsake joy after the revolution bell rings
i hope to see a smile on your face as the flames consume the capitol
i hope to hear a song from your soul as the master’s house comes crumbling down
i pray you all retire to a home-cooked meal grand as this truest family reunion this land has ever seen
with food divine as the hands that cook it and children that devour their plates and men that clean up without asking
then every person will look to the love they have defended and it will be good

when white supremacy kills me… and it will
show this world that grace and wrath are righteous sisters
that our people, Black people, are not wretched
we were simply waiting

every scar from our suffering
has led to our deliverance
a freedom so stunning
the world will stop

to honor our beauty.

Added: Tuesday, June 16, 2020  /  Used with permission. Justice Ameer performs "when white supremacy kills me" on June 11, 2020 as part of Split This Rock's 2020 Virtual Poetry Reading Series.
Justice Ameer
Photo by Ally Schmaling.

Justice Ameer is a poet and facilitator based in Providence, RI. Xyr writing explores the experience of being a Black woman in an apocalyptic America, and refracts queer fluidity through desire, history, and relationship with nature. Xe was an Artist-in-Residence at Williams College in Spring 2020. Xe is a Pink Door Fellow and previous faculty member. Ameer is a co-creator of the theatrical production ANTHEM at American Repertory Theater’s OBERON. Xyr work can be found in Poetry magazine, Split This Rock’s The Quarry, The Nation, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic anthology, and various other publications.

Justice Ameer was a Featured Poet for Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness (March 26-28, 2020) in Washington, DC which was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Split This Rock began a virtual poetry reading series in May 2020 which included a reading by Justice Ameer, Kyle Dargan, Trevino L. Brings Plenty, and Cameron Awkward-Rich on June 11, 2020.

Image Description: Justice Ameer wears a red-striped shirt dress and stands against a tan backdrop while tilting xyr head to the right with xyr eyes closed and holding xyr braids in xyr right hand.

Other poems by this author