"I’m Rooting for Everybody Black"

—Issa Rae

Everybody Black is my hometown team. Everybody Black dropped the hottest album of the year, easy. Everybody Black is in this show, so I’m watching. Everybody Black is in this movie, so I’m watching. Everybody Black wore it better, tell the truth. Everybody Black’s new book was beautiful. How you don’t know about Everybody Black?! Everybody Black mad underrated. Everybody Black remind me of someone I know. I love seeing Everybody Black succeed. I hope Everybody Black get elected. Everybody Black deserves the promotion more than anybody. I want Everybody Black to find somebody special. Everybody Black is good peoples. Everybody Black been through some things. Everybody Black don’t get the credit they’re due. I met Everybody Black once and they were super chill and down-to-earth. I believe in Everybody Black. There’s something about Everybody Black.

It’s Important I Remember that the Moral Arc of the Universe Bends—

but it doesn't break, and neither breaks toward justice
nor away from it. It simply bends, as the bow does
before propelling the arrow where it may, agnostic
to everything but flight. I don't mean to make morality
a weapon in this way, but it already is one and has been
for some time. The shackles, after all, were explained
as saving us from ourselves, our naked savagery,
though it was their whip that licked us and left a kind
of tactile text on our bodies. The Bible will have a man
beating on someone as easily as it will have another
taking one, turning the other cheek, civilly disobedient
even when the bombs blow up in their church, not to say
saying no to violence isn't commendable, just to say
a strong case can be made for cracking a skull or two
like an everyday egg in hopes whatever golden light
resides inside shines through, throughs the crimson tide
for the rest of time so the tide will, mercifully, recede.

Related Poems

litany

I wish I knew how
It would feel to be free
I wish I could break
All the chains holding me
               —Nina Simone

today i am a black woman in america
& i am singing a melody ridden lullaby
it sounds like:
              the gentrification of a brooklyn stoop
              the rent raised three times my wages
              the bodega and laundromat burned down on the corner
              the people on the corner
                          each lock & key their chromosomes
                          a note of ash & inquiry on their tongues
 
today i am a black woman in a hopeless state
i will apply for financial aid and food stamps
          with the same mouth i spit poems from
i will ask the angels of a creative god to lessen
          the blows
& i will beg for forgiveness when i curse
          the rising sun

today, i am a black woman in a body of coal
i am always burning and no one knows my name
i am a nameless fury, i am a blues scratched from
the throat of ms. nina—i am always angry
i am always a bumble hive of hello
i love like this too loudly, my neighbors
think i am an unforgiving bitter
            sometimes, i think my neighbors are right
            most times i think my neighbors are nosey

today, i am a cold country, a storm
brewing, a heat wave of a woman wearing
red pumps to the funeral of my ex-lover's

today, i am a woman, a brown and black &
brew woman dreaming of freedom

today, i am a mother, & my country is burning
           and i forget how to flee
from such a flamboyant backdraft
                       —i’m too in awe of how beautiful i look
            on fire