Monday’s Coming and We’re not Okay

Photo by Mathew MacQuarrie on Unsplash

Monday’s Coming and We’re not Okay

Imagine a world
where property value,
tax-paid infrastructure,
the rule of law,

justice’s infuriatingly slow
machinations,

tact, decorum,
gold prices and golden manners,

collective peace-of-mind,
tranquility of greater-good,
and the easy flow of
status-quo traffic

and blissful return to
whatever we consider
our communal normal

were all more important

than the unconscionable
completely avoidable
death of your son,
or brother,
or father,
or lover.

Really imagine it though,
and feel free to sub-out
and imagine your daughter,
sister, or mother instead

murdered by the state;

I didn’t recommend it
because I’m no monster.

Now sit with that moment,
that overcooked despair
and rage as your civic institutions
tell you with a dismissive shrug

that his death was unavoidable,
his assailants, servants of the state
are good and normal in completing
the task of snuffing-out his light

and your reaction to his
completely avoidable death
is completely unreasonable and
lives as proof of the sole reason
why guys who look like him

 – and yes, who look like you too –

are routinely slaughtered by the
state-sanctioned violence
in the first place.

He’s never coming back,
his voice forever silenced

and there is no one
with leveraged power
to champion his cause,
to validate your grief,

nowhere to turn
to wring meaning from
your loss.

What would you do?
What is your next move?

Whatever you decide,
best be quick about it.

Monday’s coming,
and you’d better be on time
with a smile on your face
and a song in your heart.

Wouldn’t want to give anyone
within the superstructure
the wrong idea
that you’re angry or resentful

or one of those malcontents
out there
disrupting
the established order.
***

“But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I borrowed these helpful links from https://tumblr.theblackout.org/

Donate/Boost/Sign:

Mental Health Resources:

  • Ethel’s Club – Black-owned and operated social club offering access to Black therapists and a multitude of creative events for People of Color. 
  • Crisis Text Line – A different approach to crisis intervention, Crisis Text Line offers you help when you text 741-741. You’ll be able to chat with someone who is willing to listen and provide you with additional resources.
  • Shine Text. – Black-owned! Sign up to receive cheerful texts and tips every day. 
  • Therapy For Black Girls – A Black-owned a directory to help you find Black therapists in your area. 

Tips for Organizing/Protesting:

Stay safe. Much love.

35 thoughts on “Monday’s Coming and We’re not Okay

  1. Stunning words in a time of terrible darkness for America- we have similar shit here in Australia- white fellas have a lot to be ashamed about- and if I could riot on the street right now I would: “Riot is the language of the unheard”- Martin Luther King

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nothing one says will make it better. I live in South Africa, as you may know and you’re probably familiar with our history. I currently live in a small town in the country and the racism is blatant. It was better in the city. I’ve written poems, took organisations to the highest office of their political parties, I’ve spoken to people directly, screamed at at least one of them, walked out on a great very many. I recently lost a freelance writing job because of racism, in the name of God if you please. it’s what they do here. Nothing helps. There was one day when I, as a white person, thought to myself: if I was black and got treated like this every day of my life, hell!! I’ll chase the lot of them into the sea and not regret it!!

    The bit in your poem that is staying with me is tomorrow is Monday and you going to have to act as if you’re not in a state of total (out)rage. Jesus!!

    I’m so, so sorry what you people are going through.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is where our difference in entitlement lies: I as a white realised only now, this second, that over five days of protests, not one white person died at the hands of a black. That’s the excellence of spirit of black people. Over 25 cities, at least, setting the place alight, such outrage, not one white died in the process. Jesus! That’s who black people are. The collective excellence in spirit.So strong. Such solidarity. It’s true in South Africa as well.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Your people have a strong genetic survival mechanism having endured centuries of persecution .Apart from the bell you have to figure out how to win the war. The ancient Greeks knew….remember Achilles heel. Despots can only be brought down through the smart way ( the hip pocket. )My thoughts are with you…Iv’e got loads of ideas inspired by the Ancient Greeks and Shakespeare 🙂 Talk to you soon
        Love to you all !

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Words aren’t enough to describe how powerfully poignant this poem is, Barry. Your words say it all, and I can’t imagine anyone not resonating with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Speaking as a citizen of another country where race relations are not an issue despite having one of the most diverse amount of population in the world. Australia has welcomed people from all over the world to live and work here and if eligible become citizens too. Just what is the beef USA?

    Like

    • One of your Australian countrymen’s earlier comments seems to contradict your nationalist, utopian boast, but no matter.

      I’m sure things are just fine from your perspective.

      Like

  6. I have to disagree that race relations are no problem in Australia. I am a white-skinned Australian age pensioner living in government housing, i.e. managing on a very low income – and I know that I am in a position of extreme privilege compared with most black Americans or the indigenous people of either country; nor, despite a little bit of outwardly invisible Asian ancestry, do I encounter the prejudice and threats which people here who look ethnically different (even if they are 5th-generation Aussies) often suffer. As to what is happening over there just now, hard to see that there is any possible response but rage.

    Liked by 1 person

      • In Australia it’s more hidden – unless of course you happen to be indigenous! Police brutality tends to happen inside police stations rather than out on the streets. So it’s easier for the white population to believe that nothing like that happens here – even though indigenous Australians are proportionately the most incarcerated people in THE WORLD and the number of deaths in custody is appallingly high.

        Like

      • Now I have to withdraw what I just said. On the news here tonight, police brutality against an Aboriginal teenager was caught on video. He wasn’t killed, but violently attacked in deliberate and dangerous manner. It was in the context of Aboriginal protests here in solidarity with the US protests, and pointing out the similar history here.

        All of it is horrifying.

        Like

  7. Your poem really packs a metaphorical punch, Barry. I read your ‘list’ with bated breath and almost forgot to breathe until I reached the isolated line ‘were all more important’, like a pivot or axis on which the following though-provoking lines spin. It is difficult to put oneself on another person’s shoes, but it must be done. Nobody should look away ‘with a dismissive shrug’ and death is never unavoidable. It’s a tragedy that his voice has been forever silenced, which is why we must all use our voices, our words. But we must never use violence against violence.

    Like

  8. Your poem resonates the sadness of the situation without hiding in the realm of poetry. Its real . Thanks for sharing your words.

    Much✏love

    Like

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