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The Door oF No Return, Goree Island, Dakar, Senegal, 2014

 In My Lifetime... 
(C) Judy C. Andrews 2016
In My Lifetime
I have seen the Sixties
as a child
Danced until the sun's brilliance
performed streams of light
into my soul
during the Seventies
Graduated in the Eighties
with prestige that floated
on the backs of African Kings
Queens, Princes, Princesses
Affirming actions
that lifted me toward glass ceilings
and corporate strife
and I fell
a few times before
I found myself staring
socializing into the eyes
of PCs, Androids, and Facebook
That brought me to sadness
one day in 2016
scarred my dreams
swallowed my prestige
nibbled on my success
Flashed nightmares
across my screams
for the souls of
African American
Kings, Queens,
Princes, Princesses
fighting a demon named
Police Brutality
It was not my first time...
was not my first time..
I woke up crying
on a sun-filled day for
Philando Catile
Alton Sterling
Sandra bland
Eric Garner
Freddy Gray
Michael Brown
Tamir rice
Trayvon martin
Walter Scott
Sean Bell
Laquan McDonald
Amadou Diallo
Eleanor Bumpers
13 disciples
and there were more
even before
Emmett Till... 
There are enough names
to fill one trillion volumes
all titled
Black Lives Do Not Matter
I couldn't sleep for two quiet weeks
when thunder slammed into
Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas
A hot summer/2016
An inferno of hate
trumped my spirit
fell into my heart
and left it weeping behind those
Georgia oak trees
that still protect
my soul
A swamp of madness
erupted inside me
It was just like fire
burning in my soul
I found myself
genuflecting for hours
asking Her
Will there be a fire next time?
Will I explode?
In my lifetime
I have not had much
to complain about
I was that child
dancing in the brilliance of
Civil Rights
under a stream of
Affirmative Action rainbows
living the dream
of an African American King
In my lifetime
I yearn to dance in the brilliance of
a chant:
Black Lives Matter!
with no apology to others...
I yearn to dance
in the essence of
gratitude for Obama greatness
with no apology to others...
I yearn to dance
with no apology
for the color of my skin
the texture of my hair
the slant of my eyes
the brightness of my teeth
the swag of my step
the courage of my ancestors
the future of my descendants
the light in hearts of darkness
No more apologies to others
for honoring the contributions
of African Americans
who shed tears, blood, and sweat
in the face of profound horrors
while speaking an old language
named Gun Violence
and a creole/patois/pidgin
named Police Brutality
and an English language
named Racism
Let America learn
a new language:
Black Lives Matter
without asking why
or adding a modifier! 


This Poem.....

     I wrote this poem in July 2016, a terrible beginning to a summer of violence.
       My first reading of this poem was at The Countee Cullen Library in Harlem, right around the corner from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in August 2016. 
          I, along with the writers of The Harlem Writers Guild, presented prose on a blistering, yet beautiful summer afternoon.  We had an amazing time. 
         My mission to write is simple.  As an African American/writer/woman, my wish is to inspire, encourage, and motivate people of all cultures to seek the honored blessings and truth in all rays of beauty within the human spirit-the greatest beauty-being love.

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