This work was featured in Issue 17:4, Fall 2016 — Slam Issue

Cici Felton

Two Poems

Volume 17:4, Fall 2016 
Slam Issue

 

Black Girls Dance on Fire

A black girl dances on fire like slave ships in the pit of the Sahara
Stagnant
Determined to burn out the negativity society has placed on her name
A black girl has her slave name
And then the name she gave herself
The name used to define her own identity
Despite them claiming her “a mad black woman”
See us black girls, are made to shake what mama gave us
And no that is not an invitation to become susceptible to cat calls and attention
No we twerk
With elegance
A symbol of freedom to let it be known that we own this
A sense of entitlement and control of what is done with our bodies
This is our form of healing
Place all aggression and pain into our hips
Cuz we know the strength it took
To build a woman out of a broken black girl
Know the fear and fight it took
To ward off master before day break despite our tears

So this is us taking back our bodies
Using the way you sexualize us to draw attention to our voices
We are forced to walk on egg shells anytime we speak
Must be aware of your sensitivity to our uncensored language
Or be deemed a B-I-T-C-H
We dance on fire to protect our black girl magic
Our melanin holds too much spark for them
So let us burn
Let our flames illuminate the darkest of skies
And bring joy, peace, understanding

Our savior complex works against us at times
We will stand on the front line
For the same men who will watch them make a martyr out of us
From the sidelines
They still have yet to Say Her Name
We are still trying to convince them that a black woman’s life
Matters just as much as a black man’s
We are still trying to rally together to get them to Bring Back Our Girls
Even at a young age we are taught to be strong
At a young age some girls are forced into marriage
Never knowing childhood without submission
At a young age girls are missing, and stolen, and sold
Like property with no value
Us black girls, must teach each other how to love ourselves
Will knock knuckles with men to try and protect our boys
Will knock knuckles with men to try and protect our girls
Excuse me if my fire have too much spark for you
We are more than angry black women
Than being classified as baby mamas with drama with no place in this world
But to birth babies
But to be object
But to bring life to the same men in this world
Who don’t aim to protect us but slut shame us
Silence the struggle we have become desensitized to

This is for the black girls
Who back then
Rocked beneath the tide and ran with the wind when Tubman sent for them
Held onto the bit of freedom we had and made lemonade for both us and our children
Us black girls
Have mastered the art of dancing, on fire
How to move hips and bend beneath open roads in honor of celebration
How is it, we are the most disrespected neglected human beings?
But will still wrap arms around our enemies to make sure we all eat

Our backbones are built from welts by whips
Sun kissed skin that comes with consequences
We are made of good home cooking, long nights, and early mornings
Curves, love handles, skin, and bones
Adam’s rib
Strength

The boom in our voices is used to speak authenticity
Reveal things about yourself you’d rather not see
At the click of our tongues
We will aim and ruin you with that death stare mama always gave
Us black girls know pain all too well
Black girls be missing in the mix and they won’t even search for our voices
Don’t even care to give us something to hold onto
Cuz they ain’t got nothing to miss

Us ladies is what makes this world go round
Are the very soul and heartbeat of a real movement
Black girl dances on fire cuz grandma say you got to make the devil mad sometimes
We’ve mastered the art of running with the wind before day breaks
Don’t ask for no handout from no man cuz they don’t give a damn about us in the first place
Give us babies then rape us
And take back the nation we raised their children on
See a black girl dances on fire
Cuz otherwise they will try to hang us
We like slave ships in the belly of the griot
Like Mother Nature being forced to rock her children to their deaths.

 

Bloody Jesus

Mom, I keep hearing stories about boys who look like me
I keep seeing boys who look like me flash across the TV screen
Mom, what’s the name of that gang that keeps killing boys like me?
Mom, why did God make me this color if it’s what makes me a target?
Mom, why are you crying?
Mom, why won’t you answer me?
Mom, please, save me…

My son died the other day
Died right there in the middle of the street
And I can count on one hand the amount of time that officer will get
The amount of time my baby’s body lay casket sharp against the pavement
Can’t compare to the amount of fucks they give
Somebody murdered my baby last night
Left me with nothing but an embroidered uniform
Of bullets plastered across his canvas
He bled once, sacrificial lamb for his band of brothers
Better yet, target practice for that gang against brothers
They said he be thug
Said he wear criminal like his complexion
Said he be criminal cuz of his complexion
Last night, last night they announced that officer Darren Wilson
Would not be indicted for the murder of Michael Brown
And all I could do was cry
Cuz counting sheep permanently was never Mike’s idea of chasing dreams
And when you ask a young boy what they wanna be when they grow up
Most would say alive
Most would say alive
No most would say they wanna breathe
Most would say they wanna believe there’s a God
But its hard when all you know is blood
And bloody Jesus is starting to resemble our sons nowadays
Bloody Jesus is plastered across our streets nowadays
Bloody Jesus is being crucified by gold badges and blue uniforms
And, his rights
Officer, if a boy has their hands up in surrender
Is that an invitation for you to display your authority?
If a boy is walking while black is that considered a legit reason for suspicion?
I am sorry, that that bulls eye, resembles black guys
Which is why blacks die and are forgotten
Why we’re unarmed, yet used as weapons for mass destruction
It looks like our suns are dying right before our eyes
and we’re blinded by our own darkness
Our pigment, is the reason for this procession
We are all dressed in black for a reason
Casket sharp with iron fist cuz we must fight to get to the kingdom
See last night someone murdered my baby
Every 28 hours, someone murders our babies
Forget abortions, black sons are living just to die anyway
Bloody Jesus, was born just to die anyway
Emmitt Till, Amadou Diallo, Rodney King, Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Antonio Martin, Eric Garner
See somebody murdered my baby last night
Somebody murdered my baby last night
And got away with it.

 

 

CiCi Felton is a freshman at Morgan State University, a fire-spitting poet and activist, and an active member of her school’s poetry organization, MSU Poets. She has been writing since age 9 and was a member of the DC Youth Slam Team in both 2013 and 2014. She also represented Parkdale High School at the regional Louder Than A Bomb-DMV competition. She has performed all over the world, including South Africa, Switzerland, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, George Washington University, and the Harlem Renaissance Festival. Felton has published two poetry books, Daddy’s Little Girl: Gone in 3 Minutes and Secrets of the Midnight Hour.