17 December 2016

Encourage Yourself

It won't always be like this.
I know if "feels" like it hasn't changed, like life will always kick you in the face when you've already fallen down, but surely it will get better at some point.


At some point.

Don't give up.

Don't. Give. Up.

Don't you dare give up.

I know you're tired. 

I know you hate this.

You're more than the sum of your failures.

It won't always be like this.

It can't be.

09 October 2016

Excuse Me.

What’s not going to happen here is an excuse
The idea that something so horrid and hurtful can be swept away as “guy talk”
Should be something that makes us all balk
And not because you have a mother, sister, wife or a daughter
But because you are simply human

Why do we have to bargain, to prove our right to exist?
Why should the length of my skirt, or curve of my hip
Or heaven forbid, the kissability of my lips
Be at fault for someone else’s deviant actions?

I was five maybe six the first time my lips came in contact with a man’s penis
I didn’t do anything wrong, I was a child, at the level of kindergarten
What could I have done to make a young man want to know what grows in my garden?


By the time it happened again, I was six or seven, and this time an older girl did me in
She made me strip down to nothing and let a little boy hump me
While she played to her own satisfaction
My cries and tears, all of my reactions

As I grew older and withdrew from the femininity within me, everyone assumed I was gay
And if I was, whose business was it anyway?
But perhaps I was just hiding my own beauty, my womanly curves
Perhaps I cursed them because I thought it was my fault

And you see, I can’t count the times my backside has been grabbed,
my breasts pushed up against, the times I’ve been wrapped up from behind while a semi-erect penis pressed into my back
But see, I bet you didn’t know this all the times you called me awkward

I kissed a girl once, I was still a child and so was she, and I never stopped feeling guilty
Because I was six years older than she and I should have known better
Did I do to her what had been done to me?

I’ve painfully contemplated this repeatedly, over a kiss
But I find it’s easy for others to dismiss the actions of full-grown men
Who can’t be told “No” without devolving and giving in
to lustful rage and taking what they think belongs to them

We excuse, we say prison would be too much for him
Yet the survivor is questioned again and again about what she drank
And if she leadingly tempted him?

See, society seems to think “men are only men”
And that somehow that gives them an animalistic pass when dealing with women
That they are only at the mercy of their lusts
And that because of our curves they can’t resist us

And it’s all our fault, and we mean nothing
And our lives are put on trial
And we become a spectacle for a while

Our lives pulled apart, everyone attempting to detect our lives
Excuse me, lies
But we would hand over the highest office to a man who gets off
On preying on someone’s weakness

As if we’re so star struck by wealth and fame
And he considers women a game,
young girls a thing to be toyed with
While the morality crowd tosses him their kiss

And blames actual victims for not fighting back
A moral center is something you lack
When you tell a victim she should be ashamed
That she is responsible and to blame
For the reprehensible, unbelievable things that happened to her

“Maybe you should have…”
Perhaps YOU, yourself should take a step back
Heaven forbid you have to walk an inch in her shoes
And have to fight the feelings and demons she powers through
God bless your soul if you had to pay the same toll

See, I was a child left in hands of protectors, who turned out to be predators
Yet I consider myself lucky to only face what I did
I had to learn to forgive, no not the perpetrators
But myself

I had to set myself free from that closet floor
The place where I wasn’t strong enough to hold closed a door
And part of my innocence was left behind
I did nothing wrong
I’m not the one who needs to be excused
And I won’t excuse the behavior of those who chose to hurt me
I won’t let my little self be their excuse
But I also won’t let this bruise remain on my soul

I will champion the hurt and broken, we share a bond of words not spoken
I won’t let the continued silence of victims be turned against them as violence
You can’t excuse this as lewd words, because there are women behind them that have been hurt

Stop the excuses, reveal the lies
It’s not OK, to continually make survivors cry
Find your moral compass and follow it back
To a place where we’re not blamed for our attacks

If you think I’ve said too much, or that maybe I was too graphic
Perhaps what you should stop to see is that’s a bit tragic
I’ve freed myself from my own fear here
Through these few words I’ve shared

You’ll have to forgive the pain of their truth
I’ve lived through my own nightmare
So you’ll have to forgive me and take this as my proof
Because actions that lead to this kind of pain, are not something I will just excuse

17 September 2016

Dear Arlington

Dear Arlington,
We've had this awkward relationship for a while now. The first time I lived here, I was but a child, 18 years old and attempting to take on the world.

Like many, I showed up to UTA with hopes, dreams, and determination to conquer whatever was thrown at me. Round One went to you. Four years after I arrived I ran home, broken, depressed, insecure and unsure of who I was and what I was meant to do.

All of that hard work, all of the focus, attention, and dedication seemed for naught. You even served as the place I experienced my first real heartbreak. And for all of that, I despised you.

Fast forward, slowly 13-1/2 years and I came back. Not quite as hopeful, more than a bit hesitant, but still looking to fulfill a dream. One that I swore would never live again, that was somehow resurrected through unusual circumstances.

UTA, though seen as a place of defeat was now going to come up off of what was mine - I was going to fight! And fight, I did. And cry, I did. And fail, I did. And disappoint myself, I did. And get up again and again, I did. But I wasn't alone, or trust me, I would have stayed down. So I learned and I grew. You may have broken my heart before, Arlington, but I was willing to try again.

A great community came together to PUSH me forward, to believe when I wouldn't, and to support me when I couldn't. And for all of them, old and new, I thank God. I will not forget the kindness shown to me or what I have learned from each of them. I absolutely would not be here, at this moment, were it not for them.

Last December part of the dream came true. I finally obtained what I set foot at UTA to do, in a different (but the perfect) discipline. I found out more about who I am, and what I was always created to do. Also, that incredibly expensive certificate doesn’t define me; I give it value, not the other way around. (Selah, think on that)

I won’t lie, I didn’t like the process of getting here, but here I stand, prepared for the next round. I am in a new place, sent an invitation from someone who was willing to take a chance; my gratitude for her willingness and faith in my ability knows no bounds.

I have new challenges to face and new roles to embrace. Thanks for all the lessons, and for all the incredible friends, but it’s time for this chapter to come to its end. I am not defined by a title, I am not limited by fear, and so it is with great pleasure I say, “Goodbye Arlington, dear.”

Twelve days until the next chapter begins in McKinney!

21 July 2016

What? If.

What can you do?

If you say anything, you're criticized.
If you do something, you're scandalized.

If you ask for freedom, you're told it's not free.
If you ask for justice, you're given grief.

If you look for empathy, you may be stabbed in the back.
If you search for help, you're told to grab a bootstrap.

If you want the truth, you'll have to wade through lies.
If you want unity, somehow you still have to pick a side.

If you show them your scars, they claim self infliction.
If you want to see change, it's time to move with intention.

If my voice is shaking, I'll still speak with conviction.
If my story bothers you, then YES you're the you that I mentioned.

If we allow this to go uncontested, how will we explain to generations
We had the power to change, but we settled for manipulations?

What will we do?

09 July 2016

How Will History Record Our Response?

My emotional cup runneth over. I was quite vocal about the issues from earlier this week. I didn't make it Downtown Thursday to support because a friend needed an ear, and that is important to me, too.

I wasn't there, but I know many who were and I'm grateful they are home, safe. I don't have the words to describe how I feel about the events that happened that night. I've been telling you all week how valuable life is to me. That hasn't changed. Doesn't matter if they wear a uniform or are an everyday person.

Life is Valuable and to be Honored

For those who are trying to make this some sort of debate about whether police lives or black lives matter more, you've missed the point entirely. Life is precious and to be honored, no matter what. It's not a matter of putting the life or lives of one against another. Think deeper than that, allow for the fact that there is not an either/or situation happening. There is a massive systemic issue at hand and it has colored all of our thinking.

But I will say this, you can clearly see, when civil servants fall in the line of duty, everyone rallies together to care, to show concern, to voice outrage, to see what can be done. That's good and that's normal. I would hope we care about that. I hope we honor and remember these men with pride and dignity for their service, and their sacrifice.

But when we see black, latino, indigenous, Asian men and women hurt, raped, or killed by the overreach of those in authority, many question why we as people of color (POC, those who have been denigrated by global systems of white supremacy) care, especially since we don't know the person or the families affected. Well, years of oppression, "otherness," and a system against us has shown us something, and that is that collectively our lives don't seem to amount to much in that system. (Again, I am not saying POC lives matter more, so don't see/hear/sense or make it out to be that)

Our deaths or harm can be seen repeatedly through various media, and the court of public opinion will still say we deserved it. I'm not attempting to paint anyone with a broad brush here, again it’s a systemic problem, but hear me when I say, we've learned that our "cornrows" are unprofessional but "boxer braids" are cool. (for those who don’t know, it’s the same hairstyle) That may be a fashion thing, but the point is, the differences in reception to what is done by and to POC and others is vast, this includes our deaths.

I noticed that as Alton Sterling's and Philando Castile's names were trending and the situations were highlighted, there were a few non-POC leaders who said something. There were some who acknowledged that this was painful. We heard the silence of the rest, until Thursday night. I'm not saying everybody has to say something all of the time, because they don’t (and that’s unreasonable), and I’m not attempting to shame anyone. Also, it’s a brilliant thing to know when to hold your tongue (or your fingers). 

But in the face of the recession, leaders said things; in the face of terrorism, leaders said things; in the face of “black-on-black crime” and black fatherlessness leaders say things; Thursday leaders said things. But in the face of black death at the hands of rogue authority figures, there seems to be nothing to say.

The Lt. Governor of Texas somehow believes Black Lives Matter should be held responsible for Thursday night’s tragedy because of their "rhetoric," but he actively allows the KKK to continue in this state - and for those of you who think there is any parallel between the two, I’d ask you to rethink that.

Anarchists Versus Activists


Look at history and you’ll see how the system brought about and supported the creation of the notorious supremacy group the Ku Klux Klan. To get things "back in order" after the Civil War, this "fraternity" began. They were afraid and they continued to spread lies about the lack of humanity of black people to justify their actions. 

The KKK has violently destroyed any life or way of life not like their own. They lynched, burned, blew up churches, burned crosses (CROSSES!!) on front lawns, dragged people to death behind vehicles, and more. The KKK believes they represent the chosen, that the rest of us are the problem, and they have a divine right to “deal with others” as they see fit. 

They believe a celebration of diversity or things like interracial marriage are “white genocide” (check that hashtag on Twitter if you’ve ever hoped or actually thought racism was over) In short, the KKK terrorizes and kills. They want to live in an all-white utopia, which sounds a bit like anarchism to me. Also note, if the destruction of other people groups is at the core; there are no “good guys” amongst the KKK.


Now for Black Lives Matter. It's an activist group, relatively new and borne out of the stress in this nation from repeatedly seeing unarmed black people tried and executed or harmed (reference the girl in McKinney last year) on the street by out of control police officers. Police brutality happens. (Do I really need to insert here that I love and appreciate civil servants and that I’m not anti-police? Of course I do, because that’s life.) BLM also shed light on the death of Zachary Hammond and harm caused to Sureshbhai Patel. They're looking to destroy a system, not people. They meet with and work with leaders for better.

BLM galvanized because this system has displayed that black (POC) victims get put on trial, in actual courts and that of public opinion, while others get taken for food on the way to jail, six months in a cushy jail away from other inmates, or probation along with the benefit of the doubt for things like murdering folks in cold blood in a church, raping an unconscious woman or killing and maiming people while driving drunk. Black Lives Matter exists to bring change to a system that overwhelmingly does not support us, seems bent on destroying us and attempts to blind others to these facts. It hopes to correct the system for the benefit of all. 

The Breakdown

It's also sad that I have to add this, but for those who will miss it, I did not say all black people are perfect, all the time and that there are no criminals among us. There are “bad apples” in every shade, nation, and occupation. There is fatherlessness and crime in other communities, too. Yes, we aware of Chicago. As a matter of fact many black people (and POC) for generations, myself included, have marched and talked and sat down with our own communities and leaders to try to make things better. The only reason some don't know or recognize this is because they're not there and then don't listen when we tell them that we do.

BLM is a rally cry. The phrase does not say "ONLY, Black Lives Matter" but somehow people have been led to believe that's what's being said. The truth is, what is being said is "Black Lives Matter, Too." There probably are some not so “good guys” who use the phrase and consider themselves part of the movement, but that is not a representation of the movement. There are black folks and additional POC who are prejudiced, I’m not denying that. I’ve seen those kinds of situations addressed family to family and I’ve seen people change. Hell, I have a good friend who used to be a white supremacist but changed when he really began to learn about God. But hear me, when POC are prejudiced against someone else, there is not a system behind them supporting it. Those hearts have to be dealt with, too but that’s not what we’re dealing with today. Today this system has to be exposed, seen, accepted as real and changed.

The System

The system looks a lot like me being shadowed when I walk through a store, when no one else there receives that same treatment. The system is the story of the man named Jose who couldn’t get callbacks for jobs until he changed the name on his resume to Joe. The system looks like exorbitant unemployment rates for black people, who are trying to work, who are absolutely trained, educated and qualified, but still can’t find work.

The system looks like no money in poor school districts and those students barely receiving a proper education. The system looks like the situation with the water in Flint. The system looks like a traffic stop where one man explains he has a concealed carry permit and a gun in his glove box and gets a ticket for speeding, but Philando Castile’s body is being prepared for burial. And the system is also filled with smaller issues, called microaggressions, that POC face every day. We feel it. We hear things that we allow to pass through the filter of, "They don't know any better,” so we don’t say anything.

And you may ask why we don't say anything in these moments. Well, when we do we’re told we’re being too sensitive or that “political correctness” is the real problem in America. Also, it looks something like this:

Take 1
POC: "Black, Native, Brown, Asian Lives Matter"
Response: "All Lives Matter"

Take 2
POC: "Look, this Black, Asian, Latino, Native man/woman went into town to get something and was shot in cold blood because he asked a question when the police officer told him to do something he didn't understand or that the person felt was a violation of his/ her right as an American."
Response: "He/She should have complied."
POC: "Philando Castile"
Response: "Why is the fiancee so calm?"

Take 3

POC: "We think some of our state representatives and senators really don't represent us, care about us and they're keeping us from voting."
Response: "You're making that up."
This is a former congressman.

Take 4
POC: "It's very difficult to find work, even when you're qualified." or 
"I was laid off in the massive company changes and it's been difficult to find work." or 
“I’m seriously thinking about changing my name, because I’m not getting callbacks.”

Response: "Pick yourself up by your bootstraps. Nobody helped my family." or
“Lazy, black people always looking for a f-ing handout.” or 
“It’s easier to be black in America, you’ve got affirmative action and all that, I don’t know why they act like they can’t get jobs.” or 
“Poor people are so lazy, they should get an education and do better.” 
{by the way, yes I’ve heard these things myself, sometimes people forget I’m black. Then they say things like, “Well you’re not really black,” which is another conversation altogether.}

What Will We Do?

I could go on but I'm tired and you don't want to read anymore. My point is this, please stop trying to convince us that the reality we live in doesn’t exist just because some don't (or won't) see and accept it. We are working to make it better, as best we can. Not all black people and POC are on or have been on welfare, nor are we looking for a “white savior” or a handout - real talk. 

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with needing help. Please note that even with educational disparities, because separate but equal is a lie and still happens, black women are the most educated segment of the American population. (I’m going to let you Google that for yourself, but there were headlines when the news broke)

Not all immigrants are terrorists or are stealing jobs. Jobs have been sent to other countries for the sake of better bottom-line profitability, because you can underpay workers in other countries that don’t have the same regulations as the U.S. I like profitable companies, that’s important and I like a healthy economy. But when the companies are growing and the people are suffering for it, there might be an issue. Money and power are powerful drugs.

If you truly care about the POC in your lives, I suggest listening to their stories and why it matters that Scarlett Johansson was cast as a Japanese woman, in a distinctly Japanese story or that a white man played Martin Luther King, Jr in a play. Please hear me when I say this, we listen to the "majority" stories and opinions all the time, via media and entertainment. 

We also listen both to what is said and not said. We learn early on that the system of supremacy is one we must know the ins and outs of intimately. We are here, as always at the table, ready to listen even more. We’re just hoping that we finally get to have a say, as well. I don’t see this as "just a skin issue," I’m not trying to guilt anyone into action. I’m writing for the sake of awareness and to selfishly process all of this.

Look, I’m a lover and a reconciler. I look to Jesus as my savior - I have not walked away from that and I’m looking to Him for strength, strategies and answers. Yes, I know “racism is a sin problem, not a skin problem.” But I’m over pat answers and phrases that mean nothing. I’m not here for a round of the blame game and revisionist history. I’m not here to make anyone “get it.” I am here to learn, understand, grow, and do my part to change history.

When I’m done grieving, I will get up stronger than ever. I want to work together to correct a broken system. I don’t hate anyone. Indifference and dismissal get me pretty riled up, though. I am one who chooses to love and forgive, but that does not mean I don’t observe and recall. Y’all I’m tired and yes, I am angry but I am not bitter. I am still grieving the losses from this week, two black men from other states and five police officers from my own hometown. Dallas, the eyes of the world are on us.

My ancestors, literally and figuratively, alongside many allies and friends, worked too hard for us to devolve in this moment. Can we not reason together and bring this change more than 400 years in the making? Let’s do this, people.

06 July 2016

Melanin Matters

Everyday I feel I’m put on trial for existing
In this melanin-tinted skin I’m in
I never know when it could be the end
Because of the suspicion from years of traditions
That prompted fear when you saw my kin
Yes indeed, I’m about to go in

And though I’m known to be brilliant and witty,
and even on occasion, sometimes pretty
If I make a “wrong” move at an opportune time
What will be the narrative of my life?
Nothing of the truth will be what you find
Because posthumously will I be tried
With little evidence for every crime
And the story will state I was the one who defied

My brilliance, a faint recollection
But my predilection towards depression
Will be the section of my life highlighted
Forget about all the love and affection
Shown and how I gave
Or how I tried to face everyday brave
Even though most of those days
I was scared and afraid
Because when you’re my shade
You can bet the benefit of the doubt
Will be the first thing thrown out

“Well I guess we never really knew her”
Is what they will shout
And over my grave
my guilt will be contained
In the minds of those who never knew me
But the media will lead you to see
All of the darkest parts of the deepest part of me
And before my family would even be allowed to grieve
Others who never knew will lead them to believe
“If only she had,” and really that’s sad

But thankfully this isn’t my story
I’m here to shed light for the ones
Who are already in Glory
Because someone feared them
Or didn’t like their tone of voice
So they made a fatal choice
And now instead of families rejoicing
Over graduations and happy situations
Their loved ones are a hashtag

An empty soulless shell
A burial plot holds the remains
Of the hope and joy, dreams of fame
And what could have been
But fear the color of their skin
Is what did them in
Only when it seemed their
Lives were about to begin

But tell me I’ve made this up
That this holds no truth
That my observations lack proof
That if my people would just comply
But it’s a lie
And what kind of free society
Subscribes to Comply or Die?

So yes you’ll hear me say
Black Lives Matter
The “minority” comprises the majority
No matter what you say about “All lives”
And how they matter
Day in and day out we’ve learned
Through dreams and hopes shattered
That’s not really the case

It’s just a deflecting phrase
used to derail
A necessary conversation
About evil situations
That continue to occur
And you can be sure
I will continue to fight
Until all of our plight
Finds us unified
Or I’ll die
in the process of making it right

© Aisha N. Willis 2014/2016

24 June 2016

Begin Again

designed using canva.com

For some of us, finding our voice isn't the problem. We're blessed with one and we know it early on. Others look to us, those who seem to have no fear, to speak on their behalf. And we do, gladly, eagerly, because it's what we do. It's as natural as breathing.


Every action has an equal and opposite reaction - or so I've heard. When you're young, you have to be taught to tame your tongue, to rein it in, because you can't always say everything you want when you want it. This is a delicate dance. Those in authority have to train the child without crushing their spirit. That’s difficult. Many of us push through even when crushed. Some may even speaker louder, longer, and more often.

But some - even the ones who seem to be the most fearless, lose a bit of themselves. We allow ourselves to be controlled by the reins of others, instead of learning the hoped-for self control. We have so much to say, so much to do, but fear we are wrong, fear we are unacceptable, fear we will be rejected, for using the very gift given to us.

So we sit still. Quiet. With a roar burning within. So much to say.

Occasionally, we may say something. It's well thought out, planned, researched, balanced instead of biased - but the moment the words run free so do the Tone Police, writing their citations of disagreement in the name of keeping the peace.

And so once again, we sit there - a champion who can represent a King, but sitting in silence, in the prison of caring what others think.

The most solitary of confinement. The warden, a public who wouldn't adore the most Perfect. And yet we long for their acceptance. A pat on the back, a "good job" or the like.


We can't please or appease all. Some will not understand our fight, our plight, or the fire which burns within.

The sound of our voices is the sound of our freedom. If you want others to respect your rights, your freedom, it's not too much to ask for reciprocity. The space to live in dignity, free from the condemnation readily given just because we may have a differing opinion.

Now, here I am. At a crossroads and I am the only one who can adjust for my burden and carry my load. Another's opinion of my life is not a foundation I can build upon or currency I can spend. So I stand here, scared and scarred into a silence that has to end.

It's time to begin again.

Yes I said 'some' and 'us' and 'we' but that's only because sometimes it's hard to say 'me'.

Yes, this is my fight. This isn't where my story ends. This is a rebirth.

It's time to begin again.

I am greater than my faults and failing has never done me in. I'm standing for my freedom.

It's time to begin again.

I swam in the seas of doubt, and drowned in lies rehearsed with no end. But I refuse to stay under.

It's time to begin again.

I've been blamed for centuries of someone else's sin. But I was reborn as an innocent.

It's time to begin again.

I'm willing to fail forward, and work even smarter to finally win. Today, the lies found their end.

It is time to begin again.

The battle is on every side, so I choose discipline.

The greatness of humble meekness is what I wrap myself in.

That doesn’t make me a pushover, my learning isn’t thin.

I'm getting my mind right. I know that I will win.

Death, just lost its hold on me.

It's time to begin again.

19 June 2016

Memory of a Kiss

Red Lips Isolated in White, Creative Commons

I’m still haunted by the memory of your lips
Our last gentle kiss
When the heat radiated from your eyes
And emanated from your fingertips
Which danced along my arms
While across my heart, so did your charms

Those deep brown eyes pulled me in
And I was tempted by you, like you were a sin
Waiting all day just to hear your voice
To experience your stories, I made a choice
I believed for a moment, all too brief
In the reality of a you and me

You, of course, turned out to be a thief
My heart carried in your capable hands
And just like an elegant and eloquent rogue
You talked me out of my affections
And for all of my walls and impenetrable protections
I still surrendered willingly to your directions

And then it was too late
At this point, I sealed my unfortunate fate
I dared step into your arms for a dance
Lulled by your hypnotic rhythm, your advance
Intimately connected by a shy glance
In the grip of your wiles, I never had a chance
Now, my soul bears scars with your resemblance

And now here I am alone, no sleep
The evidence of your presence kept in the deep
Shadowy parts of my heart and mind
Those places time doesn’t shine
And darkness doesn’t pass
To your memory, I raise this glass
Which holds the imprint of my lips
And so do you
Your body and your soul still hold my kiss

(c) 2016 Aisha Nichole Willis

01 May 2016

We Asked for Better, You Gave Us Bitter

I hoped for better in my lifetime than a regression to the "days of yore." But really, that time is not what most romanticize it for, it's a dangerous, dark and deadly door.

Now, here we are, in the future with a penchant for a past that doesn't exist, except in the minds of creative and deceptive revisionists.

The same who want to tell me that a protest isn't right, that that is not how Americans fight. I'm sorry, I'm sure I didn't hear you right.

This America, founded as the home of the free and land of the brave, made up of people running who, we’re told, didn’t want to be religious slaves. The ones who decided the rule and dare I say, oppression, of a king wasn't really their thing.

This America, taken from the hands of those who owned the lands through deceit and forced migrations, and stipulations that the indigenous are still paying for. You won’t even look at the receipt. Reservations set at a table at which no one should have to eat. The sky was the border until you brought disorder, and now they die bound on set lands.

Heritage and pride, ancestry and thriving lives, in your eyes, reduced to mascots.

This America, where we fight for a corporate logo instead of the people it purports to represent. How terribly indecent, how far our descent into insensitivity. And yet you say to just get over it.

This America, built on the backs of the blacks, forced from homes and brought here through abhorrent means. The families and lives destroyed, the pain of their humanity, traded as they were demeaned to be property.

Demons. Sexually immoral. Lazy. In need of a leader. Too feeble. Weak. ⅗ of a man. Childlike. Unable to speak up for themselves. To be coddled because they are ignorant. And still we pay the bill for these thoughts.

Like the native peoples, referred to as savages. Yet those who did these terrible things flipped through passages of a Bible that says "whosoever will" will be free indeed. Using the name of Jesus to enact the most horrible deeds.

This America, where a messaging strategy brought a thing created called Manifest Destiny, that is revered as the will of God. But it was an excuse used to confuse, to lay claim to what wasn’t yours- and as we still love to do, we came in kicking down doors, taking what’s not ours.

And now, you’re sour. Your greatest fear is that another group will come here and do what you did. You close your borders to those just like you and become hoarders of this so-called liberty that was once extended, but now is to be defended through hatred.

This America, where the poor are the problem. Where we laugh at the uneducated as we take their books and close their schools. We point at them on TV and refer to them as fools. We claim to be pro-life but let families starve with no regard for their hardship. We regale stories of grandads working hard, forgetting the subsidies that helped them to charge forward.

Programs of government were OK back in the day when the benefit went only to you. But now we talk about “hand outs” and “free stuff” as if no one has the guts to put in a full day’s work. You say, “If only the poor weren’t so lazy,” yet that’s obviously crazy when they’re balancing a job or two, and still can’t do what’s basic.

“Get an education!” But it’s hard to get one when charters are the new destination for segregation keeping the “separate but equal” lie alive. Here take this loan but don’t bemoan the 200% interest at which you must pay it back. And here they are, the educated and poor, living in lack.

Or what of those who work trades? Whose work was sent away, in the name of corporate greed, but we like to call by it’s acceptable name, profitability. We blame technology for the end of skilled labor but don’t talk about overseas sweatshops filled with penny-a-day wagers.

We blame the poor, on whom we shut the door and give low ceilings and slap them in the face when they come appealing for more. We take their chances for greatness in the name of morality and tell them to bootstrap their reality and that it will all be OK.

This America, where we like abstractions of the truth and distractions from the proof our own guilt. This truly wonderful place built with slave labor, poor families, immigrants and the indigenous so that our own tycoons could get rich. Then even richer and sell us a picture of what could be, if it weren’t for the “other guy” standing next to me; creating a dichotomy of us versus them, where we fight, only for the ones with no skin in, to win.

This America, where coded language is used to assuage guilt and incite hate. Turning brother against brother, each of us against one another, but we’re to believe in the beneficence of an oppressor, that has been the distressor since our story began.

Blame me, tell me I’m the problem. Yet I was born to solve them, to dismantle systems of destruction. Tell me, I’m the one who’s sedated, lulled to sleep by the lies of the “liberal media.” Who is always to blame when they shine light on the games you play. The check to your unbalance, only true when they agree with you. But the same media, guilty of being your tool to spread lies that defy the humanity of the “minority.”

And now, you’ll say I’m un-American and shame me for reading through history and revealing the artistry of your well-crafted lies. You tell me to, “Shut up!” because you despise the tune of my song. You say that I’m complaining, but, in truth, I love my home. Tears at “Oh say can you see?” But for me, I can see. I know my freedom isn’t free. Far too many paid a hefty price for me. No, not ungrateful; tired. Too much blood watering seeds sown in the hopes of a better future.

Better. My grandmother worked hard for better. My mother integrated schools for better. My sister and I live to bring better. Yet today, you’ve shown me that in this America, swallowing a bitter pill of recognition and repentance is not an option.

You're bitter that the “old ways” aren’t good enough. Bitter, that you cannot say and do what generations taught you was cool. Bitter because things got better for more than just you.

You're bitter that you’re not better than all the rest. Bitter that your lies must be laid to rest. Bitter that we won’t rest until better has come through. Better will be better for you, too.

Now come on, we’ve all got work to do.

For a while it may be bittersweet, but the fight will only be complete when you dismantle the inferior systems of supremacy. Or you can choose to stay bitter. But that’s not the route for me. I am moving on to better, because I refuse to accept defeat.

© 2016 Aisha Nichole Willis