“The African Man”


The African man holding a stiff upper lip.

Strong enough to keep it down. Tempted to take another sip.

The Web of lies that traps me in the state of “man”.

Is grown from the sticky silk. Spun from the consequences of my transgressions.

Strengthened over time by the weight of strangers and loved one’s expectations.

The threads form like a cage of projections that force my muscles to tense.

That feeling restricts my breathing. I can’t speak.  It’s immense.

“What do you want from me?”

I ask you. While I ask me.

Were I a White man, would that suit you?
Or if I could be lighter, would that do too?

Should I fight to be a wealthy man. Gold watches. With loud and proud financial plans?

“Will you then love me?”

I ask you. I ask me.

You tell me you want me to be strong. You say so. Without really seeing me.

With your blindfolds. You gaze through me. Making me, to feel in my shape. All it’s deficiencies.

But,
If you want. I can tell you nice.
Affirming things.

That I love me in all my imperfections.
Beautiful. Ugly. Oblique.
All as I am.
Ignored by many.
Desired by plenty.

Should I spin you these lies?

Should I tell you these words that will paint a me.

That isn’t really me?

You can tell me I am young. And that I will grow out of it.

“One day you’ll see your reflections and you’ll be proud of it”

You’ll tell me my war is one that is right for me age. Speaking over my voice.
Over my rage.

You will tell me you have seen it before and I will fall to silence.
Do you know I have dismissed you?

I see you.

With your stiff upper lip.
Braced.
Enough to keep it down.
And your hand tempted to take – yet another sip.

You may be closer to the natural grave. My elders.

But just like you. For me. It’s truth I crave.

I look at you and see myself.
African man.

Unfortunately. Never again will I believe you literal lies.
No matter how you try to restrain me.
And reframe me for your purpose.
I will resist you.

African man are you free?
Not yet.
So please.
Don’t insult me.
No more lies.
Look at me.

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