OUR SKIN IS STILL A WALL

By Zenani Boya



I’ve never written a poem before.

And maybe that’s the science talking

The ordered journal articles are irrelevant now


The world is imploding

And maybe as the whitestone statues fall

We deconstruct the paragraph,

Take back the narrative, re-pen the history.

But with melanin.


The time for printer ink and thumbnail prayers is over

Well-meaning Insta stories are temporary

Temporary doesn’t dismantle the system.


Yesterday the world burnt, today it’s diseased

The freedom of the flâneur asphyxiated in the street

Everyone sees everything.

This isn’t the lack of ventilators

This is a knee, a baton, tear gas in the eyes of peace

This is multi-organ failure.

There is no DNR, not this time.


For three seasons we stayed inside

Watched the blooms from behind a pane

Deserted the cities, abandoned the trains

The avenues and boulevards were empty.

The marble monuments lonely, the fountains played to no one.

We stayed inside to fight this microscopic executioner

Mirrored 1918 to flatten the curve

But now it’s 1991, no wait is it 1968

No. Its 1955.


How do we break this systemic time loop

Floyd joins King.

Our skin is still a wall

They say protest, but not like that, not if you look like that

Don’t touch your face, don’t touch our marble monuments


I’ve never written a poem before

But scientific theory can’t logic this away

Coughs and cognitive dissonance are miasmic

The masks we wear are for two reasons

When they should be for one

The choice is between our lungs or our rights


He had neither

And the system is failing both


#darkpoetsclub