Essays from Michael Robinson

Outside the Shadows

I want to live outside of the shadows…beyond the guns, batons, and tear gas. I want to live with a sense of dignity and calm. I want to live among others without an attitude of deference and anger, and suicidal thoughts. You are homicidal and suicidal she said and I thought it’s the world in which I live that being me to this place. I want to live on a farm with the earth beneath my feet instead of blood running down my face from the beatings. I don’t want to die like Emmett Till. I want to see the world with my own eyes and speak to whomever I please. Don’t tie me down or hang me up in a tree. Does this sound unreasonable to you that I want to live and not die as if my life don’t matter… in the end I want God to hold me close to his/her breast and give me life. My tears can no longer be held inside of my soul. I can no longer exist beyond my pain and suffering while hanging on that cross. Do you feel my regret being in this black skin of mine screaming into my pillow in broad daylight. Do you feel my despair of dying alone in the street with a crowd watching me die. My grave is a cemented yard where all the others have buried into the weeds. Does it matter that I was innocent of any crime other than being black.

Showers of Rain

My tears can no longer be held inside my soul. I can no longer exist beyond my pain and suffering while hanging from this cross. Do you feel my regret being in this black skin of mine, screaming into my pillow in broad daylight. Do you feel my despair of dying alone in the street with a crowd watching me die? My grave-a cremated ditch where all the others are buried in the weeds. Does it matter that I was innocent of any crime other than being black? Living in the shadows I hear the guns; I feel the batons and smell the tear gas. I live with the awareness of being homicidal and suicidal and I’m indifferent to it all. I’ve become used to the blood flowing into the gutter. My blood mixed with the blood of other black males. And nothing grows. I don’t want die in this place…does that sound unreasonable? I want to live and not die with bullets in my chest. I want to see the world with my own eyes and speak to whomever I please. I don’t want to die like Emmett Till buried in a swamp after being nearly beaten to death with a bullet in my head. Don’t tie my hands behind my back and hang me from that tree and dismember my body. Does this sound unreasonable to you that I want to live, that my life does matter?

I can no longer exist beyond my pain and suffering. My tears can no longer be held inside my soul. Do you feel my despair of dying alone in the streets with this policeman on top of my chest with the crowd helpless to help me. I hear my mother’s scream: “No not my son, my only son.” She sobs and shouts Jesus’ name. Her body shakes uncontrollably a pitch plea to God to not take her son away. She has joined the long processing of black mothers that grieve in the midnight hour. Years of mourning comes while setting in that rocking chair of hers. God whispers into her ear… gentle drops of tears roll down her tannish red skin. Her silver hair is in place and her heart still aches at the loss of her only son. She remembers given birth to her son and his death was as if he had been torn from her womb.

Midnight Tears

Have you witnessed the pain and heartbreak of black mothers when they learned that their son has been killed in the streets? Those mothers cry to Jesus and they weep and scream: “no, not my son!” I have witnessed far too many mothers weeping. This weeping isn’t for an hour or a day but for years. My foster mother would slept in a chair and years later after her baby son was hit by a Greyhound bus…I would see the tears rolling down her cheeks. Society don’t understand that for a black mother their sons are their life no matter what the world says he is still their beloved. In their heart within their souls these mothers mourn as if their life has been torn from their womb. All they have left is their faith in Jesus.

After several weeks of mourning for those black males who have been killed in the streets of America. They have been killed either by police or those of their own race. Death is death so what makes the difference when a law enforcement officer kills a black male? It’s because the officers are sworn to protect the life of others…they are sworn to uphold the law and to protect all lives. Since childhood I just wanted to feel safe but I did not. I feared that I would die at a young age as I walked the streets alone going to school or to the store. My foster mother always worried about me because I was so naive and gentle. I learned that the streets was not safe and I had nowhere to turn…I wanted to feel safe when I saw the police but I did not. Yes, police need to know that all black males are not a threat to white America therefore they need not to be profiled and excited. RIP Emmett Till.

I no longer grieve for the loss of my childhood. I do grieve for those two young black murdered in past several weeks. I grieve for the black males who feel and know they have no place to call home. I grieve for the loss of innocence of those who live in the inner-city.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Essays from Michael Robinson”

  1. Michael,
    Your poetry speaks to my heart. Sadness fills me ‘but yet the spirit of hope remains in me. Your testimony for black males should make all of us more understanding and compassionate
    Joan

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