By Sharon, Eddy Mihigo, and Yamiche Alcindor
I’ve been to a place here promised love is tainted
Where all the ink and paper were like chain for bondage
Holding me back from performing at my very best
But bondage was a means of survival.
I have been to a place where one day I was a princess
And the next day I was a gold digger.
Where not only the weather but the first face I saw determined my mood for the day.
And I’ve been to a place where life was more than a place,
Where life was more than strife, struggle, and lies,
Where hope dies.
I’ve been there, here, yes, been dared, felt the haze, cool breeze,
And still frailty, weakness, my knees fail, but mud knee high,
I rise like the tide and keep moving like herds of gazelles, not phased by predators.
I’ve been there, still there trying to flee but stuck like duck tape.
Do you know where I’ve been?
Do words alone tell stories?
Or does rhyme drive thoughts like wind above waves,
Questions embedded in my oblongata,
Answers scattered to far reaches,
Can’t reach ‘em!
Help. . . you want help huh?
I would help you but I live in a place where promised love is tainted.
Where broken promise, lonely days, and silent nights greet you like a long maze.
I’ve lived in a place where reality is best aided my alcohol induced haze.
Where people flee, too scared to speak to one another because 1 in 20 people carry HIV.
I’ve been to a place and performed for a different race.
They looked at me, once a princess, now just another black face.
I’ve lived in a place where hurricanes my mood,
Black bodies drowning, people’s hopes floating as the world watched sisters and brother die.
Yes I understand where you’ve been because I’ve been there too.
Except everyone in my place died and I was only left with memories and inherited eyes.
I’ve lived n a place where days began with the touch of a breeze on the back of your neck.
But by midday, reality set—life is unfair, too hard, and a wreck.
I’ve lived in a place ‘where life ain’t been no crystal stair’ but my soul has grown deep.
I know the place—where you want to be weak but are too strong—you’re knee deep.
You say you’re stuck like duck tape,
But I’m hooked, tied down with memories of my light skin—colonial rape.
I know where you’ve been because I’ve lived in this place, grew up staring at my attacker’s face.
I’ve ridden the waves and words alone can never tell stories.
How could you replay silent moments between mothers and daughters,
The first touch of a lover’s hand?
No rhyme could ever compromise the deepness of silent good byes.
Answers that ask question.