Two Poems                                                                               by Kay Jacobs

What Does Matter
         
          An unconsciousness of Roots rising from the subconscious of a prideful society 
of privileged people . . .

choke on this thought: how can white lives matter when this country was literally built upon the backs of black lives and white lies why do we still not matter our lives not materialized into a humane sense of humanity human in brown flesh, but not by blue laws no love lost to lives thwarted the pain distorted we were never indentured servants never given That chance we were enslaved trades of tribal royalty for material wealth never rising above the rim of the barrel still at the bottom of the totem pole as penance for the foreseen sins of their new fathers eurocentricity and the white man's christianity that entranced us erased us assimilated us inferiorized native tongue culture and customs reidentified as clarice george matilda toby called Guinea men and fetched bellywarmers sold wenches yet feared nigguhs’ innards locked a forbidden past whipped out of him, Kunta out of pocket just to sustain her life's freedom, Fanta not realizing that being buried in the ocean with the ancestors that jumped from middle passage cargo ships was better than the empty promises of bondaged life they were forced into outside of village boundaries you cannot swim back to the known river's shores for sanctity and salvation for safety nor sanctuary for right or fight battle the pale faced demons whose white boughs fill the African atmosphere like clouds bringing forth a storm unworthy of mother nature's wrath stripped and raped land pilfered and plundered innocence of savages taken put asunder by those whose lives have always mattered no matter what land they landed on
False Prophets
 
          (A Reflection after the Insurrection of January 6, 2021)
 
I don't know that what I was taught is true anymore -
That a white man died on the cross for My sins:
My copper encrusted
Melanated,
Brown sugar coated
wrongs
Were supposedly all erased
When he blessed the righteous on his (left),
laid his head
Upon his shoulder blade,
Feet and hands nailed to risen wood
Covered in the red of his humanity,
Gave up the ghost
And uttered
'It is finished'
 
But it was not.
 
My belief wavers
Like an old-school radio frequency line
No ups, all downs
Because he has been coming back for as long as I can remember
As long as my gram had been alive
For as long as her great-grandmother had been waiting for that train to pass—
 
We all have been waiting for his return
To start this world again
Like he did once before
Because it was necessary then
Because it is even more necessary now
In this world engrained in the sins
That he died for
 
I
Used to sing the songs
Talk back to the preachers
Transfixed by the stories told
Of the man from Galilee
That healed the sick
Raised the dead
Turned a blind eye to see
And made the lame to walk again
 
I
Used to believe in
Repeated the folklore of
Tried to live by the words of the
Prophets
Psalm writers
Biographers
Historians of
The scriptures
the King James version—a white man
 
So,
I woke up
And stopped
spreading
their gospel. 

Kay Jacobs (born LeNeshia K. Ross) is fairly new to the poetry scene. A native Louisianan and educator, she is the author of Within Shades of Mahogani, her first collection of poetry that traces the angst of her adolescence and the conundrums of her college years. Jacobs is currently crafting poems for her next work, Beneath the Stripes of Amerikah—a reflective perspective of America: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. 

Guest Editor Latorial Faison is the author of Mother to Son, the trilogy collection, 28 Days of Poetry Celebrating Black History, and other titles. A graduate of UVA and VA TECH, she recently, completed doctoral studies at Virginia State University and published The Missed Education of the Negro: An Examination of the Black Segregated Education Experience in Southampton County. This Furious Flower Poetry Center fellow, Pushcart nominee, and Tom Howard Poetry Prize winner has been published in Artemis Journal, West Trestle Review, Obsidian: Literature and Art in the African Diaspora, PRAIRIE SCHOONER, and elsewhere. Forthcoming work, Mama Was a Negro Spiritual, was a semi-finalist for The CAVE CANEM POETRY PRIZE. Faison is married, has three sons, and teaches at Virginia State University.

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