by Jennora Blair
I am angry because I keep hallucinating the smell of fire.
I am angry because I keep imagining the KKK in my own home.
I am angry because I have to tell myself that what I hear isn’t gunshots.
I am angry because I have to tell myself that what I hear is firecrackers.
I am angry because I have to write this poem to keep myself from breaking.
I am angry because I am angry when I should be healing.
I am angry because my brain can’t remember thousands of names of murdered black people.
because not enough justice in the world will bring back innocent black lives.
I am angry because I am numb to seeing the murders of black people.
I am used to seeing gory pictures of black people in pain.
I am angry because privilege surrounds me and I can’t attain it.
I am angry because generational poverty surrounds me and I can’t break it.
I am angry because I have history that reminds me of why people consider me a threat.
I am angry because people have ignorance to say “get over slavery.”
I am angry because prisons are modern-day slave fields.
because police are modern-day slave capturers.
because white people in power are modern-day slave-owners.
I am angry because black people are still enslaved.
I am angry because every time someone looks at me I think they see a slave.
black people have built this country but they are being told to go away.
I am angry because I have once hot-combed to burn my blackness into straight hair.
because I am on fire while people burn extinguishers in the basement.
because the news said “the death of Floyd” instead of “the murder of Floyd.”
because people are still questioning “are black people even human beings?”
I am angry because people discuss my pain in a vocabulary larger than mine.
because people use the bible to justify the destruction of my black life.
because elites want to fix how we protest, rather than fixing what we are protesting about.
because black voices are being shut down by the very people they are protesting against.
because “LAW AND ORDER.”
because “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
because people can choose not to be angry.
because people choose not to be angry.
I was taught at an early age that I will struggle more than others in my lifetime.
because today is a rerun of the past.
because people have acted as if everything was okay when it only was okay for them.
and I have acted as if everything was okay
when I wasn’t.
a picture of the original poem formatting.
a message from Jennora:
I’m Jennora Blair, a rising First-Year at Brown University from NYC. I’m extremely undecided in terms of what I want to study, but I’m considering sociology, cognitive science, literary arts and Africana studies. I’m 18 years old and poetry has been my second home since forever. I’ve published two poetry books that encompassed my poetry club’s work, with all royalties being donated to mutual aid funds.In terms of this poem, I wrote this in response to the murder of George Floyd and the rage that flooded my heart and thousands of others all over the world. As a black young woman, I felt so many emotions, bottled up, that at the same time, it was hard to feel anything at all. So much pain made me feel numb to the multitudes of Instagram posts illustrating more black people being violated by the very people that are supposed to protect them. So I wrote this poem to feel more. To try to process exactly what I was angry about. And with this poem, I encourage other black people to reflect, heal and write out their emotions, in times of extreme distress.