OK BUT WHAT IF I DON’T WANNA BE ALRIGHT KENDRICK?
by Darius Simpson

after Daniel B. Summerhill


all’s my life the cotton field been a distant myth
all’s my life we been free enough to pretend
we been pretending enough to think freedom is individual
or that liberation comes by the ballot box only
or that the ballot box ain’t rackin up body counts too
the road to further exploitation is paved in electoral politics
we free enough to forget the 13th and 14th wasn’t our decisions
we forgetful enough to think every three years is a birthright rebellion
pretty pictures from the front lines makes resistance seem attractive
tragic news from exiled poets reminds me the cost of revolution
praise for the broken windows but political prisoners catchin hell
older poet sits me down in a crowded cafe on a near-gentrified corner
he say we Black and always survivin and ain’t that a beautiful thing
and i caution about fallin in love with the fight so much you forget to win
out here accessorizing the lynch rope cuz it choke a little slower
cuz digital death happens quick enough to join a picket line in theory
maybe it was somethin to them blood and fire missions
somethin bout burning plantations that says tomorrow we ain’t just gon scrape by
somethin bout shackled labor strikes that make the governor’s pockets hungry
somethin bout an organized front that says alright just ain’t gon cut it
Kendrick there are lineages lining the streets
prison iron itching to swallow our young
Third World genocide pullin on purse strings
i don’t know if we been alright since them ships
shit if a pre-apocalyptic integration is alright
i don’t know if i ever wanna be alright again
i said no justice no peace but meant it
they say that makes me a revolutionary
or an easy target for the campaign trail
just cuz i want an end to videos of cops brutalizing Afrikans
just cuz i want an end to cops whether casket or unemployment office
you know they say the last to know it rains is also the first to feel the flood
maybe this is less about the people at the bottom
maybe we always been one with the water when it rises
maybe the flood is just the next necessary stage of battle.

Darius Simpson is a writer, educator, performer, and skilled living room dancer from Akron, Ohio. Much like the means of production, he believes poetry belongs to and with the masses. He aims to inspire those chills that make you frown and slightly twist up ya face in approval. Darius believes in the dissolution of empire and the total liberation of Africans and all oppressed people by any means available. Free The People. Free The Land. Free All Political Prisoners.