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