Shifty (Poem)

(Hello folks. Here’s another new one for you—you can also find this poem on my church’s blog Safe Haven Newsletter.)

I’ve got three
Pointing back at me
I point the finger
But three point
Back at me
Holy Trinity says,
“But what’ve you done
Lately?”

I’ve got three pointing back

I look at my community
The world today
Society as a whole
We shift the blame
Like aching feet
Moving from side to side
“Not my fault,”
And then we hide.

Outcries say
They killed the Black community
They poisoned us with drugs
They brought in liquor stores
They’ve built up a negative image
But it can’t be all their fault, right?
The drugs were brought in
But did we have to buy them?
Liquor stores disguised as job opportunities
But why didn’t we fight it?
Negative images are plastered
But we seem to perpetuate them until it
—becomes
The new standard
Where are we
Where were we
When all these things were taking place?
Still waiting for Superman to finish
—rescuing Lois Lane?
We have an obligation to ourselves
But put all the responsibility on someone
—else

I’ve got three pointing back

“It’s because I’m Black, isn’t it?”
But is it?
Could it be that the real reason
Goes beyond skin color,
That some things are intentionally done
To incite a reaction desired
From intended provocations?
“I hate all those monkeys,”
“I hate all those spics,”
“I hate all those crackers,”
“I hate all those chinks,”
Hate, hate, hate
Is that really all you preach?
They hate me
So I hate them—oh
I see…
But you fail to realize
How the very thing you hate
In actuality
Is yourself
You self-perpetuate
Not just negative images
But also double standards
You embody the very demons
That you see in others
Oh say can you see it?

Perhaps if you dealt with you
You wouldn’t hate
All your sisters
And all your brothers
Who differ from you
So much

I’ve got three pointing back

I go back to the heart of all of this
I look out in disgust
The children who are disrespectful
Parents who failed to do their job
Their kids don’t know how to take care of
—nice things
Because they both came from nothing
They don’t know what nice is
So they move
But they trash up everything around them
It’s what they’re used to
Chaos
Is what they’re used to

I look
As we all point our fingers
Toward the problem
“It’s the government!”
“It’s infrastructure!”
“We need better teachers!”
“We need better mothers and fathers!”
“If we had better jobs,”
“If we had better police,”
If we had better we’d do better
That is what we say
But what happened to doing better
Anyway
Regardless of the cards you’ve been
—dealt?

We point, and we point
I point, and I point
And the whole time
We’ve been pointing at the real issue
All along

I’ve got three
Pointing back at me
Holy Trinity says,
“Tell Me, child,
What have you done?”
I’ve got three pointing back at me

I’ve got three pointing back

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