Elijah Pringle III

SOCIAL DISTANCING OR DRAPETOMANIA

only social distance we’ve known is justice
six feet can be either horizontal or vertical
sies pies de separado or six feet under
justice has kept its distancia para me

the end of justice is injustice
it is alive, it is not a virus
it is a bacteria swarming
in a petri-dish – a culture of White Supremacy

it propagates on denial
festers on flawed reasoning and justification
grows exponentially on hatred
this is not a healing of helpful stain

it does not aid in digestion
it does not make milk cheese
and there is no antibiotic
unless we become the cure

but too many eat at the feast
fugu with its toxicity in tact
venom can be found, in the liver
in the eyes, in the skin, in the ovaries

and when you become insensitive
it is because you are now it
you are the thing in which
you have feasted and festered on

and now we are rankled
our faces wrinkled with disbelief
not at what is but that you are annoyed
that we are not gleeful at our oppression

Drapetomania in a 21st century twist
that there is something wrong
when we amble through the preamble
“to create a more perfect union.”

*Drapetomania: A mental illness that caused slaves to flee captivity. Often credited to American physician Samuel A. Cartwright in 1851.


ELIJAH PRINGLE III is a Philadelphia poet, lyric baritone, composer, actor, and artivist. He is the author of At the Cornerstone, Feeding the Sparrow, and Second Saturday at Serenity, and has appeared on radio, TV & stage. He has been quoted in print in Newsweek, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Daily News, and others. He credits his true education to five generations of teachers.

Other work
Power to the Poets: Juneteenth
Power to the Poets: Uproar!
Power to the Poets: Vote

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