Deborah Ode
"No More."

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As people of color, we wonder how to achieve
We wonder how to plead to a country
That would rather see us bleed in the streets
Then thrive and succeed.


How much longer will we have to scream to please
This white century of elites who watch us get minced like meat?
To die and cry and strive just in the hopes to survive?

 

When I say, this is not a poem, I would like you to say it after me.

This is not a poem.


This is a voice that’s hums within kept in the dim
A voice that has been here for years that has finally been seen

 

And I ask those who have left their homes
To work in a country that criminalizes our souls

 

Why do we have to prove we are American?

 

Asian and African in front of the word,
To make sure in this country—
They’re the “Americans” heard.
And as bodies drop all around.
They expect us not to make a sound.

 

When I look at Christian Hall, I cry for us all.
Thinking of the years he would have knew
I can only imagine how he would bloomed
Into a bouquet of orchids and Lilies instead of a mum
A white chrysanthemum

 

A flower that now mourns, a boy who deserved more.

 

This is not a poem.

 

This is a connection between communities that needs to be seen.
The eye of hate captures those of color and in between

 

They hold our breaths while we scream.
“I can not breathe!”
While we wait for the help they claim to bring

But George Floyd taught me
I knew who it could not be.

 

Because, Who do we call
When we know they want us to fall?
No longer can we go back to the default,
Because police are a part of the system at fault.

 

A system that analyzes your proximity to whiteness
And if you have eyes they despise,
noses far too wide,
Or a culture they sexualize—

 

Their help is our demise.
This is not a poem
This is the pitter patter of mother’s heart as it begins to fall
As another child is gone, a repeating routine

 

The American Dream.

 

A lie for a vision of a million to see and believe
Minorities who come from of across the sea to live their dreams
For their aching hands to scrap across golden sands
As their legs to walk across treasured lands
For their children to be free to do anything they please
To fly across boundaries and be where they deserve to be.
And believe if they don’t squeak
They will have everything they need.

 

Then why are elderly beaten in trains,
Why are children kept in a cage?
Why are people shot as they sleep?

 

The same “Americans” who enjoy Asian cuisine
Yet stay in silence when they see the forsaken scene
Caused by a falsified American Dream
That in the margins say “white” Americans on-ly
Only for others to reach for clouds
To be shot down.

 

This is not a poem.

 

This is a bow of symphony

 

 

Telling the system to sing our melody
The white exclusion that started from slavery
Grew into an act in the 1880’s
Excluding Chinese Americans from claiming their freedom
What are those who come here, supposed to tell their children?
Other than have a stable income and maybe you’ll be hidden
Even then we look at internment camps of 1942
And realize even silence can’t pull you through.

 

No matter how hard we try to be involved in history,
They blame us for their problems unsolved, and put us through misery.

 

Blame is a game to be played when there's nothing left to say
They blame immigrants for taking jobs away
They blame accents when as they proclaim your name
They have been foolish enough to think
They were the Americans we seek

 

I am no longer speaking for the dead, I am taking action instead.

 

No words can justify the harm that has been done
From the start, the white man with a gun
Has threatened our claim to the American sun
The beams of light that we withhold in inside
And only just beginning to shine.

 

We are the people who made this country thrive,
Why do we deserve to cry,
Die,
And fear whether or not we will survive?

 

Today in the sun rays,
I’m done counting the days as more elderly pray.

 

This is not a poem.
Poems end and descend
But today,
We rise as high as the sky.
Today, we fly.

Read more of Deborah's poetry on her Instagram @debpoems