There are Gods amongst us in these ghettos
so black, so fierce, 
so brown, so beautiful, 
Their time on earth 
may be as oppressive as ignorance
limited to the demons flowing in their blood
but after safely passing over back to the clouds
the wind will still carry their auras and prophecies
their bones will still beat drums 
for their children to dance
the phoenix will still rise from the flames of Paris with hope in womb

There are Gods amongst us in these ghettos
so brown, so fierce, 
so black, so beautiful, 
That if you spend too much time 
caught up in yourself
You just might miss Him that is goddess, 
she that is god, 
they that are legends
Working the runway as if walking on water 
Reaching the stage to that promised land
where ‘peace’ is not ridiculed and the only war worth fighting for
is protecting your child from the terrorist acts of a mainstream America
where ‘reading’ is an act of learning 
not degrading words used to disguise 
fragility and fractured dreams
where ‘shade’ is a shadow you walk in 
to avoid the light
but who wants to stay 
out of the warmth of the sun? 

If you waste your time 
trying to be a false prophet 
robed in attitude and labels 
to obscure the insecurity
you may fail to recognize 
their divinity and miracles
parting the crowds, resurrecting from the floor, 
scoring tens of commandments, 
because trophies will not feed the hungry, 
coat the homeless, 
hide the scars, 
Grand Prizes will not bring Lazarus or LaBeija back from the dead
they will just sit in your closet, 
fake idols gathering dust, 
before the gold paint chips away
You cannot sell them for freedom
You cannot trade them in for love

There are Gods amongst us in these ghettos
so black, so fierce, 
so black, so beautiful, 
so brown, so fierce, 
so brown, so beautiful, 
Watch them carefully and say your prayers 
as they enter the ballroom
angel wing feathers decorating skin 
recrafted over silicone 
and martyred colors
See the Gods dream, see the Gods give, 
see the Gods live, 
They exist in the spaces where white 
is not the only hue 
that represents purity
They will not battle to your rhythms and beats
click, spin and dip simply for amusement
They will not teach those who share their souls and names to hate
Their heartbeats are louder 
than the blaring speakers 

You want realness... look at your hands
are they red from the revolution or from the blood of your own sisters

There are Gods amongst us in these ghettos
so black, so brown, so fierce, 
so beautiful, so bright
Look up towards the heavens and pray
then look at yourself in the mirror and say
‘Stars are not only found out in the sky 
but in ourselves’


Copyright © 2005 by Emanuel Xavier. Originally published in Bullets & Butterflies: queer spoken word poetry, edited by Emanuel Xavier. Published by suspect thoughts press.