Journalism In Verse

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What Is A Wall?

in Opinion by

What is a wall to a country full of racists? Until there is nothing
to scare them, except themselves? What is a wall
but a way to keep the neighbors from seeing the black
eyes and bloody lips of oppression, her legs (cock)ed open
wide as trauma? What is a wall if not trauma showing
you all her guns? If the wall is built who are you keeping?

Do you know the wall well? Do you know if the wall is a keeping?
Not of togetherness but of the desert and death in-between? Nothing
can hold you down or back as much as what you hold in. Who are you showing
your fangs? Which side is the Not Welcome mat facing? Doesn’t a brick wall
look the same from both sides? If you stood at the top of the wall and open
your eyes aren’t there brown women dying by the eyeful? Is your eye black

too? A bruise is what happens when the blood is trying to escape, turn black
trying to break the skin with nowhere to go but healing.  Whatever is keeping
you on top of the wall, will die one day — the family, the tradition, the open-
eyed tomorrow you expect to fix all your problems. You are nothing
compared to what the wall is sitting on. The wall is sitting on us. The wall
is lifting up her skirt. We peek through her legs, scared children showing

the world how quick we can hide, how quick we are to start showing
the shy it takes to let someone speak for you when you know you can talk. Black
is the color of disappear, brown is the color of a walked-over grave. The wall
is the color of a walked-over grave that keeps disappearing. If you keeping
your eyes open to oppression and then close them, you have built a fine wall. It’s nothing
safe you think. It is easy to think you are safe and find out you are wrong. A country is only as open

as the last lie it told its citizens, a country is only as open as its mind. A country is only
open as the last heart it broke, open as the last wound it created. A country is showing
you who it is, you need to believe it. The country does not care about nothing
it’s not sure it can’t kill. It’s scary to say that. It’s scary to believe that. It’s too black
for this country to believe. This country is so very very afraid of what it is keeping
in the dark. In the dark this country has hidden all its rage, blood receipts buried deep. What is a wall

but a Do Not Disturb sign?
I am the color of your disturbance and who you do not want to disturb. Wall
is your way of trying to get it both ways, to kill black and brown with one structure.
An open history will not close because you want to ban it. There is no keeping
us out or in there is no keeping of your word, we will not have it. Your word
means less than nothing here it means everything. Showing is everything but
telling is something in this country. Here is a secret: I am the very kind of
limitless black 
that terrifies them. The black that knows how vast it is,
and that immeasurable is better than everything. 

 


Siaara Freeman is the founder of Wusgood.black magazine and an editor for the literary journal Tinderbox. A Pushcart Prize nominated and touring poet, she considers poetry food because that is how she eats. She is a Slytherin from Cleveland, Ohio trying to grow her afro so tall God mistakes it for a microphone and speaks into her.

Photo by Gabriele Diwald.

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