Black Scars

You unfasten the buttons on your shirt

loosen the collar

alter the sides

tie the ends into a knot

cuff your sleeves

Do everything you think you can do

to change

But no matter what

You’re still dressed in black scars and ugly shades of red, white and blue

with thirteen not so spangled stars 


Some of us put on jackets

Hoping they won’t see our white collared skin 

If we can pull our zippers up high enough


The worst are those that figured out how to discard their shirts

Tossed them in a back alley dumpster

Can’t even recall what they looked like

or if they had ever really worn them

If we pretend it never happened

then racism doesn’t exist


Yet those who were taught it was the War of Northern Aggression instead of the war of slavery neglection 

still grow up to be just like the adults that left their brandings on their sleeves.

Not realizing they’re repeating the same mistakes 

Not realizing they’re moving on with higher stakes

That they just pulled another collared white shirt 

over the head of another starry-eyed kid


We’ve done such a bad job of stopping the cycle

Plain and Simple—We created White Dismissal 

Now we have to sit and see if our children can figure out just how not to recycle,

undo the buttons on that same shirt 

And stop this never ending succession 

Of viewer’s discretion:

An Everlasting White Impression


This poem is about: 
My community
My country
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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