Marame Gueye Can't Breathe

I can’t breathe…
 
I came to this place
To catch my breath,
But there is no air for me here.
I can’t breathe….
 
I became black in this place.
My skin color denies me the right to pure air.
I can’t breathe….
 
An endangered species, black boys are condemned to death before they are born.
I can’t breathe….
 
Those strange fruits that once hung on trees are now dropping under your guns.
I can’t breathe….
 
Like Pharaoh they’re hunting for boys,
Chocolate-colored boys,
I can’t breathe….
 
Two of those boys are mine
I can’t breathe….
I lay awake at night worrying about their future.
I can’t breathe….
 
Your madness is a chokehold on my throat that lets no air come in and out.
I C.A.N.T B.R.E.A.T.H.E ….

 

Marame Gueye is Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Literatures in the Department of English at East Carolina University.

 

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