A rally for Black Lives Matter in New York City, held in 2020

Maybe the Rally Won’t Get Us Free

i’ve drummed at more protests than celebrations
by protest i mean we had a target and goals without permits
marched to the rhythm of tears beating the pavement’s skin
what’s clear is we’ve been here before and will again
what’s clear is there will be war until we win the war
if there is no war maybe the u.s. will sand castle crumble
if there is no u.s. maybe Africa can sleep with both eyes closed
maybe Cuba can get a decent shot at a Sunday afternoon
maybe Palestine will look back on occupation as a faint memory
maybe our movements coming to a standstill won’t be surrender
maybe the rally won’t get us free on this here Tuesday but listen
for a few hours my lungs heave with a force besides grief
and thousands of pissed off cardboard posters bounce beside me
and yes we have to organize outside of mobilizations

but dammit they killin children over there

and over here and last night and the week before last
and since the first settlers colonized
and don’t that mean we got to burn somethin
and don’t that mean we don’t stop til sunrise blossoms
and burnt orange haze spills across skyline bridges
and ain’t that physics or human nature
or the least we could do for our babies

there is entirely too much ash in this oxygen
there are simultaneously not enough fires on the West Coast
this evening i say coast and think
of river borders and sea blockades
of dense populations in open air prisons
of gas mask kufiyas and bandana bandages
of rocks denting literal canons
my comrades remind me there are fires to start
and i notice my hands are not nearly dirty enough.

More from this Writer

Darius Simpson is a writer, educator, performer, and skilled living room dancer from Akron, Ohio. His work has appeared in New Ohio Review, The Adroit Journal, Crab Creek Review, and others. Darius believes in the dissolution of empire and the total liberation of all Afrikans by any means available.