Cut from the Roots

When I was young I had brown eyes the color of dirt but I imaged them as creamy and smooth as chocolate dripping off big juicy red strawberries on a hot summer’s day

I saw the world in its beauty, its unchangeable splendor. I didn’t know the world’s distance I didn’t measure the world in time. Five years could have been five minutes, for the philosophy I believed was to use your time wisely and I chose in that time to be happy.

My dreams exploded in all the radiant colors of a rainbow, but the sky required a double rainbow because my dreams could not be limited to just one.

Yellow was my favorite color, it meant happiness and sunshine. It meant the chance to do whatever I wanted in life. It meant living every day to make myself as happy as can be and not understanding the definition of expectations and how they could destroy you.

I would slide into my princess dresses and hold my wand with my short chubby fingers attached to my short chubby chocolate covered arms that were as firm as a wild oak and my branches spread out to the heaven’s to embrace my yellow sunshine

I would trade my dresses for boy short and overalls when the gentle breeze of the wind playfully called my name. It pulled at my braids and knocked off my tiara as it begged me to play in its magnificence. I soaked in the yellow rays of the radiant sun and grew in joy and power.

I was both princess and warrior. I was powerful in both a dress and ripped jeans because the world was mine to paint in its yellow sunshine.

I got older and lost my baby fat and thinned out as Mother Nature blessed me with my barely noticeable curves and awkward height.

I was what my mother called a “late bloomer”. I wasn’t as magnificent as the other girls who wore their new princess dresses as they held the hands of the boys that took them to homecoming and prom.

I had outgrown my princess dresses and mother told me to put away my boy clothes and start acting like a lady.

I noticed that I had skin the color of dirt while the girls had light skin and yellow sunshine hair. I towered above the short petite girls and I often compared my height to an ugly wild oak tree.

I was no longer powerful or beautiful or hopeful. I was the tall, awkward, dirt colored girl that couldn’t be boyish but failed at being a lady.

The world was no longer mine to explore and color in magnificent colors. I sat on the ground and picked up the ugly brown dirt and marked it as my home.

My teen years were an awkward time for me because I realized that boys did not want girls the color of dirt. Boys did not want girls who were loud. Boys did not want girls who were outspoken. Boys did not want girls who were comfortable in who they were. So I changed for the boys. I shrunk into myself, I walked slower so my steps would not overcome the small steps they were taking to make it in life. I apologized if my voice rose in volume because they didn’t want to hear my voice. They wanted me to be as silent as my skin color which was dirt. I became a shell of myself because that was exactly how I was suppose to be. Silent, stupid, worthless. Like the dirt I treaded on. But you can only massacre so many bodies before even the ground cries out in injustice.

My favorite color changed to white. White was my savior. White was what I was accused of being every time I opened my mouth and asked for knowledge. White was what I should strive to be. White was exactly what I was becoming the second I traded in my ghetto speech for high vernacular. White hands would touch my brown skin and whisper how they had never fucked a brown girl before. White.

But even as I was turning white I was pushed aside. I did not belong with the white because my skin was the color of dirt. I would not be as smart as white because my skin was the color of dirt.  I would not get anywhere in life because my skin was the color of dirt.

I knew two colors. Black and white.  The people with the color of dirt would scream for justice as the white massacred the black teens with baggy clothes and laid them into their graves and label them as criminal. The white would shake their heads at the protest and riots and ask me what I thought about all the senseless violence. I wanted to speak and let my voice be heard but I remembered that if I wanted to turn white I had to be silent.

I listened to them talk. I watched it on t.v. I let the white hands slide up my thighs as they told me about their jungle fever. I stayed silent. I watched as professor shook their heads when I asked for more knowledge. I was not white. I was dirt.

I watched on t.v. as Trayvon Martin's murderer was set free. I felt the rage build inside of me, consuming me, touching every nerve, moving into the empty white spots I had in me until I was completely consumed with a thirst for justice.

Out of the dirt grew a wild oak tree. It brown arms reached out towards the radiant yellow sun.  Out of the fingers of the branch grew green leaves of all shapes and size. The white spots were removed because they were infecting the tree. 

The little girl with princess dresses and boy overalls now dresses herself in green. She stands tall and strong among the adversity. She opens her mouth and speaks even when the whites threaten to cut her down. She does not love boys. She loves herself and strives for happiness because that’s all she ever wanted in life anyway.

The winds came and blew at the tree but the tree stayed standing because it dug its roots deep in the brown soil that feed it nutrients.

Everyone knows in order to destroy a tree you have to dig it up from its roots.  Her roots are built upon generations and generations of slavery, racism, unmarked graves, and unnoticed deaths. Her roots have been screaming from the dirt calling for justice. Her roots have been silent for too long and her roots now have a mouth piece and the mouthpiece will never be cut from its roots again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Slam: 
This poem is about: 
Me
Our world

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