“Not to be offensive, but you heard of slavery, right?”
He typed in response to my profession of faith
I can only imagine his posture
If he’d asked this question in person
And not behind characters and comment box
I picture his eyes
Carrying condescending glare
As lips shape into a smug grin
Garnered by those who know their history well
And consider themselves inerrant in ideology
I wanted to ask him
If he’s ever experienced stars of Ethiopia?
Our western skies be too diluted by street lights and smog
To see beauty Universe be unveiling before us
My ancestors call that Universe, Yahweh
A name not spoken, but breathed
An entity that made chains broken, and freed
Israelites from an oppressive Pharoah
Giving them hope that kept eyes on Sparrows
When hearts fell ill to disease of discouragement
When poverty and classism clawed at identity
When Pharisees treated nonreligous as enemies
When transatlantic traders treated them with enmity
They knew their name was of Divinity
Bound by Spirit in Holy affinity
But you say this is stupidity
To put such trust in talk of text
I mean, we must’ve heard of slavery, right?
But have you seen them stars of Ethiopia?
Our Western skies be Slave bibles
Stripped of stars and planets
Eclipsing sun every once in awhile
To make sure ancestors ain’t absorb any ray of hope
From tearing out every liberating page
To painting patriarchs who were brown, beige
White man’s hands have always mastered art of appropriation
If you’ve always had the privilege of being seen as creator
And never canvas
How can you expect to understand
How it feels to be under heavy strokes
Of a plagiarized picture that illustrates a false narrative
Without even citing original source?
Critical of culture caused by Crusades and Constantine
Yet cannot fathom a brown skin Augustine
You speak so passionately bout a black man’s struggle
Yet fasten muzzle over every tongue
Confessing Christ as Lord
And mock every block bearing a black church
That be home of every black woman and man who struggled
Doesn’t your logic make you puzzled?
That heroes you hold so much regard for
Be same one’s you’d have disregard for?
Phyllis Wheatly’s poems were proof
Martin Luther King bolstered bravery
Built between Gandhi and Bible
That costed black body a bullet on balcony from rifle
Many melanated martyrs met identity at altar
And to this you say their intelligence has faltered
Why hold so much nerve
To enter into a space you don’t belong
Yet are graciously welcomed too?
Then shoot down all praying hands
You sound like Dylann Roof
Your privilege gives you a permanent home
Why snatch Sojourner’s Truth?
Ignoring fact that fascination with God
Has made black poets, prophets
And rappers, rabbis
Lauryn Hill’s heart was in Zion
While Kanye witnessed Jesus walk
Tupac told G’s that heaven was at hand
So good kids in mad cities could rest
Knowing what happens on Earth, stays on Earth
Racism, violence, friends carried off in Hearse
God is written within our DNA
And to that you let laughter burst
All because you’ve only heard of slavery?
Yet will never fully feel stars of Ethiopia
Have you ever tried to look past Western skies?
Strain pupils to pierce past cloud of lies it’s been diluted by?
It ain’t impossible,
But convicting to realize you’re an analogy
To white washed religion
You so tirelessly critique
And you don’t even notice
How you stand in opposition and unspoken alliance
With American pastors
You be a rock placed parallel to a hard place named “piety”
Both standing so certain and inerrant in own word
While everyone else be stuck between in herd
You call faith a fairy tale told to deal with trauma
They teach it’s all literal and design dogma
To keep members compliant, and call it honor
Ready to damn them
If they call God anything other than father
Both sides create martyrs
But neither has lens to see any farther
Bound by boundaries built by brain
Perplexed by anyone outside them chains
That don’t sound like slavery to you?
As if you’ve possibly confined yourself to this countries conditioned certainty for so long
That you haven’t even stepped out to see stars of Ethiopia?