when white skin is
no longer enough
in the color spectrum
believing blatant lies
aftermath of slavery
and daily sins
to bless monstrosity
obeying an openly
killing of children
not your own
hoping that Black
pain will never reach you
praying white terror
will save you
relying on injustice
TO YOUR ASSAILANT
—Who Attacks Us All
Do you call yourself God-fearing?
Devoted to “do on to others”?
Does your God condone your violence?
Does your God hate your neighbor?
Like you do?
Does your God share your love
For Prophets bearing “false witness”
Fueling your grievance fever?
Do you swallow the lies they regurgitate?
Do you really need a reason?
Are you truly a True Believer
of both God and Golden Calf?
Does the All-Knowing know you?
Do They love you as you are?
Does it matter that They are watching
Your naked depravity?
Do you pray before you prey
On innocents in this guilty world?
Do you have your God’s blessing?
Or are you as Godless as you seem?
Did your father teach you
to beat, demean, and maim?
Is he proud of your cowardice?
Does your mother say “well-done son”?
Did they train you in backwardness?
Do you feel bigger in your smallness?
Content with acts of uselessness?
Is your inner bully seething still
beneath your concealed surface?
Are you comforted in your criminality?
Stupefied by “superiority”?
Simply insane? Or lost?
Who are you?
(“To Your Assailant…Who Attacks Us All” appears in video format in “Two Languages / One Community,” and in Poetry Planetariat Number 5, Summer 2020 based in Istanbul.)
translated by Chun Yu 俞淳
MICHAEL WARR‘s books include Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmet Till to Trayvon Martin (W.W. Norton), and from Tia Chucha Press, The Armageddon of Funk, and We Are All The Black Boy. He is the recipient of the 2020 Berkeley Lifetime Achievement Award and is a San Francisco Public Library Laureate. Other honors include a Creative Work Fund Award, PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature, Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award, Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poets Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. His poems are translated into Chinese by poet Chun Yu in their “Two Languages / One Community” project. Michael is the former Deputy Director of the Museum of the African Diaspora and is a board member of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
Link to Table of Contents.