RUNNING WHILE BLACK

Now a lay me down to sleep. I pray the lord my soul to keep.If I should die before I wake. I pray the lord, my soul to take. I wish that I was a white kid, instead of a black kid. So I did not have to think, about dying all the time. Do I even have a soul, to keep? Is that why they have to kill us? I remember one time, a rabid dog was coming up the block. One of the neighbors, ran into his house. Got his gun, and shot that “Junk Yard Dog”, right in the head. Nobody could ever tell me. What made that dog go mad. I guess the ghetto, drove even the dogs crazy. Sometimes the police would come, and take mommy and daddy away. And when that happened, I  would have to go and stay at grandmas house.

But when I asked grandma, what happened to mamma and daddy? She would always tell me, the same thing every time. She would say, “Don’t you worry now, your momma and daddy, have to go away for a little while. But they will be back”. But  their absence ,would cause me to worry anyway. And when mommy and daddy, did come home. I would hear their key, turning the lock to the front door. And before they could open the door, all the way. I would be there waiting, ready to jump into their arms.

But they did not act, like mommy and daddy anymore. They acted different. It was like, wherever they went to, the people there, sucked all of the life out of them. It was like, they had become zombies. Like the black guy, in that movie, THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

But I told myself, that those people that turned mommy and daddy into zombies. Were never going to get me. I went into my room, and started to board up my windows. And pushed my bed, in front of my bedroom door. Just like that black guy, in that zombie movie.

I thought that, if I kept my head low. And hid in the tall grass. That would give me time to assimilate, and become part of the “Melting Pot/ Mainstream”. I figured, that all I had to do, was to lose my identity. In order to become something else. And that would save me. Using my new white identity, to blend in with other white people. I would camouflage myself, by straightening my hair, and lightning my skin.

It was hard for me sometimes. Because I would want to come out, from behind the tall grass. And  scream, “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud”. And show the world, that “Black is beautiful”. But, I was still afraid. Afraid that, they would take me away. And turn me into a walking zombie, the living dead. Like my momma and daddy. It was hard being black in America.

Being black meant, being subjected to police, “Gunpoint display, Chemical irritants, Neck restraints, improvised weapon, dogs, Body-weight pin, Tasers, Takedowns, joint locks, Restraint techniques, Hitting, Other methods”. That is what the police, used on my mother and father.

These were the same people, that took mommy and daddy away. But overtime, I started to forget my old self. And also my old life. I started to feel lifeless. I felt like, this process of assimilation, was sucking the life out of me. My body felt numb, lifeless. It was if, I had become, a zombie. The living dead. I started to run, but I did not know why I was running. I just needed, to get away. I felt like I was going crazy, losing my mind. The ghetto was no place, for no kid, to have no dream.

CALLER: “He’s running right now, and there he goes right now,”
DISPATCHER: “OK, what is he doing?”
CALLER: “He’s running down the street.”
DISPATCHER: “I just need to know what he was doing wrong. Was he just on the premises and not supposed to be?” We will send someone by to check.
DISPATCH: “a guy in a house right now, a house under construction”. Is the man breaking into the property,
Caller:“No, it’s all open, it’s under construction. “Stop. Stop that. Dammit. Stop.”“Travis!”
DISPATCHER: “Shots fired!”, “Shot’s fired!”
DISPATCHER:“Sir, hello, sir,”a black male, 18 years of age, 5’10”, and 170 lbs.

I voted for Trump. I paid my taxes. I had excellent credit. I was living, the “American Dream”. I did everything I was supposed to do. I should have gotten more time. God! They shot me like “THE LAST BLACK MAN”, in a monster movie. Mistaking me for a zombie, the living dead. I’m trying to remember…

How did that prayer go?

“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the lord, my soul to keep. If I should die, before I wake. I pray the lord, my soul to take”…. Grandma!

 

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