*A Poem for the Black Lives Matter Movement
For black men and women, these are no ordinary things:
A broken taillight, cigarette, cell phone, a spoon,
pocket knife, hoodies in 85 degree heat, skittles, a toy
sword, a toy gun in a children’s park, a toy rifle in a store
that sells toy rifles, a black wallet — and most lethal of all,
your black body. And driving with a four year old in the back
seat, your love in the front seat does not draw the picture
of a family going out to dinner, or coming home
after visiting grandparents, or just out for a drive to rock
your child to sleep. Running, jogging, or even just sitting
are no casual events. When the siren calls each ordinary
thing turns into chance, life or death waiting.
About the Author:
Mukoma Wa Ngugi is an Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University and the author of the novels Mrs. Shaw,Black Star Nairobi, Nairobi Heat, and a book of poetry, Hurling Words at Consciousness. Logotherapy (poetry) is forthcoming. He is the co-founder of the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature and co-director of the Global South Project – Cornell. In 2015 he will be a juror for the Writivism Short Story Prize and the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature. He is currently working on a book tentatively titled The Rise of the African Novel and the English Metaphysical Empire: Language, Politics and Identity that looks at the African literary tradition.