This past year, I’ve had to really delve into new places where artists gathered and came together to create and inspire and share with each other.
It’s sad to admit that I haven’t really delved too deeply into spaces exclusively for People of Color, and one of the main reasons is that it was never a natural place for me. I’m a mixed guy who happens to look more Black then anything, and for most of my life, I’ve been able to make my way through the mostly white world with occasional people of color as good friends here and there, but never really in a group or cohort specifically for people of color.
The last few years have forced me to reconcile some things about myself and my racial heritage, and the reality that I am, in fact a Person of Color, and that I too belong in spaces, actually need, spaces where other black and brown bodies come together, where we can share our experiences, and gain insight and strength from each other, and just BE. Simply exist without all the societal issues and code-switching and shoulder-looking that comes with moving through this day and age as someone with darker complexion of skin.
This poem was created in response to a writing prompt during a session of Black Lines Matter, an amazing project that’s hosted by Black Table Arts, every other Saturday at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.
Do you Know?
Do you know how much sound is in this sentence…
It took me so goddamn long
To love myself?
Do you know how much focus it takes…
To open up to the world
Yet keep my shield close and at the ready each and every day?
Do you know how much patience it takes…
To remind myself
What others see when I simply drive down the street
Or walk into a room?
Too goddamn much, it what I would say.