MY BROTHER, I HEAR YOU
(Dedicated to EC, a King)
My brother, I heard you when you said what you said…..how you navigate through arms stretched out for a handshake….inviting your touch, beseeching your presence, your voice - that timbre only my brothers possess.
My brother, I heard you when you said what you said. You spoke out into the room, parting the great sea of academia. For a few moments, you opened a channel so that we could hear the muffled screams. Our screams. Us, the ancestors yet to come. You called our attention to the folk songs of those who bushwhack great walkways for our people today, for the elders, for the young.
We diligently practice to soften and open our hearts, calibrate our speech, make ourselves a flexible bridge holding both the anger and the innocence - a refined instrument of revolution.
I heard you, my brother. I know why your breathing stopped as the picture on the screen unfolded before your eyes. You knew. Could sense what was coming: the open-handed gesture, inviting a handshake. Instead - punch in the face. You re-cognized your life in that moment…I know it. An all too familiar pattern in the civil rights march that is your daily walk through life.
You are a waymaker, my brother. I see your journey, even though your words were few today. Your freedom march may look far less dramatic than that of our ancestors documented on that screen. And yet, the call remains, “gird up your loins!” For as you dare to speak powerfully, to act powerfully, and to love powerfully; the gesture of friendship may be followed by a backhand slap.
I see you my brother, and I stand with you. For this work requires that we let down our guard in order to access our fullness. We can’t wait. It is upon us now! To declare the truth of who we are, we must be the truth of who we are. Even in this, in today’s America, where we’ve come so far to find the same old, crusty lies of racism that have been polished and spun, wrapped in good intentions and garnished with brilliant words of the academy. With open hearts, fresh courage and firm determination, we must disallow these illusions to serve as modern day chains.
I join you in reclaiming our birthright – to freedom, to beauty, to thrive. I join you in demanding our place - standing solidly therein, with unwavering knowing. I join you as we tune our ears to that which is true. We fix our gaze, beyond the outstretched hands that would do us harm, to see the faces of the old ones and the ones to come. We tune our ears not to the words of praise that would compel us to leave each other’s side for glory. We listen for the voices of our ancestors guiding our steps and encouraging our hearts as they declare: We see you, we see you, we hear you.
[Upon witnessing my brother – Jan. 29, 2015]