Kristen McCallum Can't Breathe


Are you aware how much your skin glows?
That intimidating color you always let show
Audacity they see each time that you breathe
How dare those people be so black and free?
Taking lessons from the leaders in each book they read
Building scrapbooks of hope for their children to see
At their table for humanity, we've never had a seat
They have broadcasted our brothers lying dead in the street
Then portrayed our tears as a sign of defeat
But y'all are gonna stop trying to get rid of me.
See, my love for black lives goes beyond melanin
It's the resilience of a people who inherited "sin"
The crime of being other and always less than
I'm tired of the notion my people aren't built to win
There's a misery that's felt when we rise above the crowd
Put our best on, make our moms proud, stick our chests right out
A revolution's coming, man we're tired can't you see?
Oh you can't see? You're playing blind?
You think we're lost without your dimes?
We can't succeed? We won't proceed?
Millennial minds have grabbed the lead.
Keep sitting smug while we march ahead
Yea "black lives DO matter" is what you just read.
We're moving along but don't get me wrong
Our hearts have been shattered but our souls are strong
So let us remain clear on why we are here
We're descendants of bondage still living in fear
Organized by the symphony of our people's tears
And the blood of our lives that's been spilled through the years
Solidarity's calling. High time for a change.
The system has failed us. War flags have been raised.

(previously published by and Split This Rock)

Kristen McCallum is a writer/poet living in NYC. She has a BA in English with a minor in Journalism from The University at Albany-SUNY and currently contributes to GLAAD Media award-nominated, ELIXHER Magazine. You can read more of her poetry and features at
View another poem from Kristen here:


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