‘Oh Shit…’


This world is f*@#ed up

when our young men and women

when our black men and women

when our racialized men and women

are told to behave or be shot

like they’re not worth a whole lot

are told where to put their hands

how to hold their  heads

which words to use or not


like it’s somehow their fault for being

for walking down the street

for driving to the mall

for sleeping in their beds

for jogging down the road


like they’re othered

and not allowed to be afraid

and not allowed to mess up

or mis-step

the way a white man can


and parents try to teach their kids

the impossible, ever-changing rules

of how to make themselves small

in the presence of police


and parents try not to show the fear

they feel each time their child

steps outside the door


they are not even rules

they are the arbitrary whims

of whoever is inventing the code that day

they are the sum of fears and refusal to care


no wonder the black body is terrified

to be stopped by the cops

to be expected to know the dance

that is waiting to be choreographed


the dance they know might end

in a river of blood

in a severing of oxygen


‘Shit, I just shot him!’

Taser / Gun

Gun / Taser

it’s not like mixing up salt and pepper


there is no ‘silly me!’

no ‘oops, my bad!’

no chance to start the conversation over


there is no life left

in the one who fled the rising danger

unarmed, unheard, unprotected


what happened to talking it out?

why this quick lunge for hate?


there are answers standing right here

in front of us

about history

about slavery

about racism engraved across generations


we are all witness to this never-ending horror

we are all listeners to this gut-wrenching narrative

why does it feel like we’re walking underwater

where no one can clearly see or hear?


I want to spill my blood in apology

I want to shed my white entitled skin

I want to stand between you and the gun


I raise my hands and cry out loud


by Carys Owen

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