Art Culture

They Ask Us Why We Cannot Breathe

"Because everyday is a testament to our survival, in a world that is burning"

Sometimes I wake up without the ability to breathe 
The deadliest lively woman you know 
Wrap myself into promises that tomorrow will be better 
But what if tomorrow never comes?
I live in a world that is on fire 
So sometimes I wake up gasping for air 
screaming that I can’t breathe 
Without being heard 
A world that is on fire 
That is torched with spirits of the fallen dead 
Where the witch hunter kills its prey with his knee on his neck 
And no mercy 
Where little Black boys don’t grow past 17 
And Black girls carrying the world on their shoulder without seeing a better tomorrow 
This world is where Black bodies come to die
And are lost but never found 
A playground for the wicked 
And here we are 
Trying to learning how to breathe again 
When the smoke is choking us
And then they ask us why we cannot breathe? 
And we say because a police officer put his knee on the neck of 328 million Black people 
because a police officer came into our home, murdered us, and only got charged with the shots that missed
a police officer pulled us over, arrested us, and left us for dead in our jail cell  
taped our eyelids open for all to see the hopelessness in our eyes  
And we say we are tired 
Of saying her name 
Of saying we cannot breathe 
Of you not giving a fuck 
We say we are tired of the exploitation of Black Death
of the inability to grieve 
The Fatigue is unbearable 
So we conjure up all that we know to be ours and march
We march until there’s nowhere else to go 
Dragging the shadows of a civil rights movement that never ended 
Just slightly forgotten 
When you live in a world that is on fire 
You learn how it feels to burn 
And how to swallow smoke 
So that you may have the ability to breathe 
Surviving at a time like this is not for the weak 
But even the strong are getting weary 
I live in the world without promised tomorrows 
And a target on my back 
Where Black people die young 
So we live everyday without the promise of tomorrow
Lend our bodies for my fallen niggas to borrow 
Because everyday is a testament to our survival 
In a world that is burning 
With the genocide of Black people 
Who cannot breathe. 

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