Where are my weapons

Bearing Weight

sitting in the middle
of disarranged diminishing
potential having passed
torches hard to see so
it seems light is fading
life burns as fast
as clips empty in drive bys
I wait on the future
to deliver what I failed
to procure I have passed
on the debt that has become
our all and all in the land of cotton
become the foundation under
which we are buried contained
un-purposed confused and beguilded
where are the futures weapons
i have made them my defense
what weapons will they use
to carve what I could not
what blueprint will they use
to build the new as we hold the
crumbs of the old like ragged
overcoats in a storm we teach
tone test to soon dead boys
who are shot with their hands
in the air surrendering what
weapons besides civil tone
in uncivil engagements can we
offer the future   become what
pleases our oppressors so they
can become grandparents who
pass torches to the fragile future
made more fragile by the fear
eaten by those who pass torches
as if their portion was done
complete freedom done come
we are undone by passing torches
to youth we de-fang to help them survive
we instruct them to go further into
the matrix as if it had served us here
in the land of cotton from the holds
of ships to the holds of prisons
bound by ink and things undone
passing torches to the young who
perpetually discover discontent threatening
revolution signaled by new dances
new music new regalia but we shake
our heads hug our fear for them close
and talk about our day as if we are
dead and gone as if we are without weapons
in the war we understand better than
the young because we have seen it eat our
passion and distill it into despair at the
sharpness of wolves teeth and the sureness
of infection in wolf bites no wolf bane
wolves everywhere they will eat your
young you know this like
you know Emmett Till’s name
you did not need to learn Oscar
Trayvon or Mike’s name
they are your children’s names
your grandchildren’s names
the names of boys on corners of streets
you won’t venture down
they are the tribe of the burning eyes
and streets of fire
they have forgotten your name
and their grandfather’s fathers name
they are now
maybe not tomorrow
but they are all tomorrow has
fragile with dim torches
instructed by our fear
hobbled by our insistence
they survive go further
but survive
no matter how
even if you wake up in
the same place
for centuries
survive that is
our prime directive
to help them survive
even though they don’t
if they are our weapons
where are their weapons
what will shield them
from the madness we did
not end from the greed
we allowed to grow from
the fear grown in the space
of an un righted wrong
as big as the transatlantic ocean
what will they use
we have forgotten the rituals
what will they use
we will not let them do
what we did not
where are their weapons
we can not hear their music
by the time they understand ours
they are ready to pass torches
to a future that
is already composing a song
we have not heard
but will find hard to like
we are dulling its point
before it is conceived
where are our weapons?

About Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PhD

I create; therefore I am.
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