(In Alton Sterlings name…..)

Did Fanon know, so many years ago

that this world would be ablaze with fire

When he stated, ‘we revolt simply because,

For many reasons, we cannot breathe’?

Did he know that the bones

of the people of colour,

like gunpowder would ignite skies

Garnering places like Ferguson, Missouri, Manhattan, New York,Washington and Boston

together in peaceful protests chanting,

‘I can’t breathe’?

Could he have known the last words each young black man would whisper-

Micheal Brown, 18, shouting,‘Stop shooting, I don’t have a gun!’?

Could he have heard Trayvon Martin 17, state, ‘What you following me for?’ before Zimmerman’s 9mm pistol went off?

Did Fanon hear the echo of fifty bullets shoot 23 yr old Sean Bell

As he told his best friend he loved him too?

Did he hear Kendrid Mcdade 19 question  the officers ‘why did you shoot me for?’

On the back of a lie that he was armed?

Or could he have known that a police officer would accidently pull out his gun instead of a taser

And shoot  Oscar Grant 22 in the back,

And later,

Would he have known that Jon Crawford’s mother would hear her 22 year old son screaming

‘It’s not real!’ on the phone

shot for holding a pellet gun in Walmart Ohio?

Or Amidou Diallo , a shy 23 yr old brother shot 41 times for pulling out a wallet

Did he hear 7-year-old girl, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, in Detroit shot on her sofa when she said….?

She was sleeping…We are bleeding

Deadly policies of anti black racism –

See they say Eric Garner was a big man


And that’s why the chokehold killed him-

I say bullshit!

They say he was selling untaxed cigarettes

And that’s why

They’re justified

In the seatbelt hold

That caused him to say

11 times –I can’t breathe

Like middle passage swallowed souls

In oceans deep

These streets have swallowed yours

But we keep

Memories alive

Our children will feel your presence

Mothers will make sure they soak up your essence

And demand the change your demise must inspire

Or we lose hope and they gain

And nothing will change.We are breathing

Our existence is not just the earth

Nor the streets, the barrels of guns or the deceased

Our earth is our minds

Where we find

where we find

where we find –

Our healing

We will not become those who hurt us

will not become those who fear us

not become those who deny us

Defy us, revile us

Change will come


by Hafsah Aneela Bashir