Red and Black Helmets


They have ripped our tongues from us,
we are silent–
guns pushed down our throats, mirrors,pipes and bracelets
pushed into our father’s hands
grants,fame and dollars in ours,
our past is erased, they now airbrush our present,
we can not speak of yesterday’s horror,

we can not count the bodies, name the rapes, photograph the starving children,paint the naked women, mourn the nations past.

We can not speak of our now, they do not want to hear songs of hunger, read books of cockroaches in our pillows, and goat shit in our plates,
water from pits, beds in the bush.

No one wants to hear about our wars,

“You are rising!” they tell us

Prostrate, we nod, purple and red lizards stoned.

Tongues gone, they want our fingertips,
Buy our words, and the wrists that conjure them.

Wrists gone, they want our minds, so we must wear our helmets,
red hats, black bandanas,
we must cover our heads, shield our souls from attack,
that when heads roll, there will be signposts,

red and black skulls, speaking for us, like we never dared to try.

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