Kettle Whistlin’

I’m really not okay.

I’m Oscar Grant III on the unwelcoming
skin of Fruitvale Station – guess I wasn’t
invited. I’m Oscar Grant ringing in
2009 with a single
bass-loaded CRACK.

“Happy New Year!”

My life consists of outrunning triathlete bullets who
backstroke toward the spine and cease to quit
until fulfilled (or, ’til the brown eye grows wide
enough to fissure; or, ’til the brown eye glows white
enough to glisten nice and pretty for a Breaking News special).

I’m 76-year-old Emmett Till woven in
a 24-year-old breath doing more than
whistling. Surreal – I’ve never
held a male elder of color
breathing himself into 76.

We haven’t seen that far.
We cease production right before the feel-good.
Every. Single. Time. At heart, we’re in the field.

I’m Emmett Till photographs in Jet
Magazine: a war veteran at fourteen. Forever
fourteen. If growing up facilitates the
Alzheimer’s to forget the post-trauma
of our past life without change, leave me young.

Few of us are sane until dead.

We toot horns and hide our insecurities
behind Nike checks in italics.
And I’m guilty.

I was midnight silent to issues
that garnered attention. Hell, I could’ve
lived the biopic of Eric Garner: suffocating
in loosie smoke and
an angry officer’s forearm, right on Flatbush Ave.

I was the black tour guide
in Times Square never asking
other black folk to see the sights and sounds.
I reduced other black folk to
sights and sounds – how do I sound?

I’m Colin Kaepernick, kneeling for a flag
that, in threading, fought wars to keep me on
my knees. How could I stand for a flag that
doesn’t stand for me first? It’s common sense
beyond the politics and black-on-black math.

From Brooklyn, NY, Asante Keron Hamid is a college English major while tripling as a socially-conscious poet, all-purpose writer, and music enthusiast. His poetry will be published in The Ibis Head Review, as well as on The Perspective Project, both forthcoming. He can be found on Instagram: @poetuntitled_ Read other articles by Asante.