Create Your Plate

I Can’t Breathe: Poetic Memory of George Floyd

Create Your Plate

Words by Kimatni D. Rawlins, art by Shawn “SP” Perkins

Excuse me, but I can’t breathe

in the land of the free, home of the brave.

It’s a pandemic and jobs have been lost,

including my own.

Providing for my family is the goal

and spiritual divinity is the fundamental virtue of my throne.

Am I guilty, a threat, or innocent?

A black man in America

overshadowed by cognitive dissonance.

When the looting starts,

the shooting starts, says 45!

God is the source of all energy,

blessing the world with tranquility and serenity.

I loved my life,

I was a father of two

and developed profound friendships.

I enjoyed excelling in sports in Houston,

even picked up the mic a few times, aka “Big Floyd.”

Get to know my story and relinquish your fear,

I’m as human as you with a thirst for creativeness,

even in perilous times, I focus on noble causes.

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

that I can’t breathe in front of the world’s abashed eyesight.

It’s evident that I am not your equal unless grasping a football,

hooping for your home team,

or blazing like road runners on the track and field.

Can I not enjoy equanimity in my home,

head out for a jog through my supposedly peaceful neighborhood,

play in the park with my friends,

shop for a gift for my lady,

or anything else considered ordinary

in the USA without taking your bullets, your chokeholds,

or a knee to the back of my neck –

leading to youthful and untimely deaths.

Excuse me, sir, where is the respect?

Give me some latitude, please.

Was our enslavement not enough to appease your province?

A wider vista of the plight of black men in America

would garner more attention.

Maybe if you walked just a mile in our shoes,

you would understand African American’s disposition.

Then, perhaps, you will begin to feel the shock, dismay, and pain

of centuries of inhumanity and injustice that causes our outrage.

Excuse me, but I can’t breathe

here in America where opportunity is omnipresent

and the rules of engagement are administered by respected laws.

So you say, until we’re incarcerated for years or killed for frivolousness;

when the other is slapped on the wrist with a congenial warning.

Racism and prejudices over color, ideology, and creed

are impeding the progression of a unified nation.

One where trust, benevolence, and admiration

for one another should be human ambition.

No more moral quandary, please.

No more fear – the strongest of all emotions – towards me, please.

No more division because I’m a black man in America, please.

I am now gone, and my soul has passed on,

so lift up your conscience and apply my sacrifice

to the laws of human nature,

and treat my black people with dignity and nobility.

Remember, my name.

My name is George Floyd!

-One Love-

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