“What They Don’t Tell You About Black Boys”
This poem was originally published on The Pittsburgher’s predecessor, The Dog Door Cultural.
Black boys are smart
in schools and not streets
they provoke thoughts not opps in neighborhoods
they get to class before the bell rings
ready to digest more knowledge than hot chips
raise their hands and spit that “hot ishh” about
mathematics, science, art, history, & english.
Black boys are resilient
i heard somebody say they grow from concrete
they know how to turn their losses into lessons
& can embrace being weak
they’ve made the decision to live on for their brothers
who have been silenced by the hands of injustice & misery.
Black boys are gentle like mothers touch
they both want and need
hugs, kisses, security, & unconditional love
gentle like cocoa butter & oil on ashy skin
they heal others while they heal alone
wear scars made out of rose petals
learned how to stitch their wounds up on their own.
Black boys are underrated
like life, like liberty, like the pursuit of happiness
they have dreams that the system is eager to suppress
but still can’t diminish
got motivation that sprouts from within the self
bloom despite distress
don’t always come in first place
but they always finish.
Black men are truth
raw & rare
Black men are revolution
like fists’ held high in still air
tongues not foreign to the flavor of words that have
been crafted by their ancestors ancestors.
Black men are hungry
for the taste of the beads of sweat that dripped down the lines of their
greatest greatest grandfathers & mother’s backs
sugar plantations made their perspiration sweet
so that when history was spit at them it would be easier to swallow.
Black men don’t make history easier for ignorant mouths to swallow
they speak both king and x
they are reform reincarnated
achieve progress by all means
& won’t settle for less.
Black men are Leaders
they are Grandbabies
they are Brothers, blood & not blood
are Homies & Strangers,
they feel like We do
Black Boys bloom into Black Men
who are People too. ▲
Angelica Heaney is from Chicago. She is an undergrad at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign majoring in Sociology and double minoring in Afro Studies and Creative Writing. Poetry is, in fact, her first love and she also enjoys eating peaches.
This poem first appeared on angelicaheaneypoetry.com.