Vassar Student Review

Vassar Student Review

Featured Author

A Word on Normalcy

I think one of the most
Absolutely atrocious
Questions we have been asking
Is the one that everyone
Asks with ease:
“When will things return to normal?”
I realize it is not the answer
That is lost
But the question itself
Bears sin.

I ask you, reader
To consider this space
Not the viridescent valleys
Nor the hairless hills
Of this Californian summer,
But rather
The growling grey gates
Boundless borders
We have constructed
Between and among
In our cities and towns.

And for what?
To knit nonsensical normalcy
From our cold cage creating hands?
Even Lucifer
In his most wicked fantasies
Knows that could never be normal.

Why is it that
It has taken unjust force
Knee to neck
For us to see
That the horror of our
Numbing to normal
Always comes back
To reduce us to our hands and knees?

Why is this a shock?

The lion tamer
Never leaves the cage unlocked
And is surprised to see
His monster roaming freely,
Shiny white teeth
And all.

Sinners search for silver
In smokey skies
Wondering when the normal
Will settle in again
Sipping sodas
Sifting through memories
But only the good ones, of course…

Meanwhile black boys
Are forced to look away
From sterling sunsets
On their hands and knees
Held by white arms
Wide arms
Of their mothers
Now empty
Left with a media message
Of their sons as
Deviant and disorderly.
She gets on her hands and knees,
As did her son,
But to dig his grave.

Is this the world you want back?
Where we treat
People as placeholders
Persons as payment
Punches as power
Profits as prophets
Police as princes?

Reader, if that
Is the normal that you seek,
Our future is bleak,
Oh so bleak.

Waiting on Mother’s Word

In memory of Breonna Taylor

She had the chance you know.
Countless chances, actually,
To gift her child what she had promised,
Whispering about which would be hers so very soon,
Folded neatly within borders,
Topped with a ribbon bursting to be untied.

This gift would not be a thing, really.
Not something to be held, per se,
But rather a boundless blank canvas
On which her child could etch a future.

A place where arms embrace, not hesitate,
Where ears are not deafened by sirens of savages,
As to hear that cries of mothers are calls for civility,
Where eyes are not gilded into blindness,
Unable to see.
That justice should be the child of love and logic,
And where souls are not scalded leaving scars too deep,
To recognize
That chains should be pearls of prosperity,
Not marks of ancestry.

But Mother America has left her child to the mercy of the wind,
Giving guns to untrained philosophers,
Their weapons nothing more than concealed conjecture,
With thought experiments recorded in blood.

And so she stands,
With empty hands,
Waiting on Mother’s word.

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