“Can’t Have Nothing” In Response to Charleston Shootings by Derrick Weston Brown

We can’t have nothing. Not our skin. Not our peace. Not our sanctuary. Can’t have nothing. Can’t shop, can’t swim, can’t walk home. Can’t pray. Can’t worship. Can’t have candy. Can’t sit in a car with friends with the windows down, bathed in bass. Can’t be a free black girl, free black child, free black boy. Can’t have courtesy. Can’t ask for help. Can’t have nothing. Can’t get the benefit of the doubt. Can’t get called by the names we want to be called. Can’t sit in church, pray in church, have a church, mosque, temple. Can’t have nothing. Can’t have a nice day, Can’t have an uninterrupted ride home. Can’t have a day when you don’t have to look over your shoulder. Can’t have nothing. Can’t have a day where you KNOW without a shadow of a doubt the people you love will come home alive. Can’t. Have. Nothing. Can’t have a day when our everything isn’t in question. Can’t even die without an “assist”. Can’t even have a proper burial. Can’t even have a memorial that goes untouched.

Can’t not be followed. In a store. For a block. For a mile. For a day. For days. For years. For life.

Can’t even get an isolated incident.

Can’t get an acknowledgement that the race card is manufactured, store bought, and made from our skin.

Can’t have nothing.

Can’t be a disappeared black girl found safe and in time.

Can’t get a disappeared black girl’s name read on air.

Can’t have an indictment, conviction, blah, blah, blah.

Can’t have paid leave, unpaid leave,

break
stop.

Can’t have nothing.

[From Media Lens Message Board, originally posted on Facebook by the poet.]

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