I Can’t Breathe ©Dawn Minott |with audio

George Floyd your life mattered. Your death sparked a movement. We will not forget. (Your sunset: 25 May 2020)

His voice reached back over 400 years to the belly of slave ships
Summoning the plight of fore-mamas and -papas
Black bodies snatched from homeland stacked up for export
Crammed in places too cramped for air
Constrained. Pressed. Till urine leaked, undignified
Shackled and restrained from neck to feet
Black bodies stretched out beneath deck, unseen

Too dark to see
Too constrained to touch
Too dense to be heard
Too putrid to breathe in

His voice reached back 46 years to the belly of his mamma
To summon the space he’s always felt protected, safer
Invoking relief from the indignity of shackled wrists
Pinned under the knee-weight embodiment of bigotry and racist hatred
8 minutes:46 seconds
Breath. Of. Life … deliberately snuffed out, stolen
Black body stretched out for the world to view

Too riotous not to see
Too palpable not to touch
Too loud not to be heard
Too blatant not to breathe in

Ricocheted off sidewalks from cities and towns around the globe
Escaped the lips of mamas, papas, sistas, brothas of every age, color and creed
Galvanizing protests undaunted by a pandemic
Bodies of all races stretched out, collective voices shout
Demanding revolution, transformation, radical alteration

Too multi-ethnic not to see
Too seismic not to touch
Too forceful not to be heard
Too copious not to breathe in

Ignite change … too enormous not to see
Ignite change … too radical not to touch
Ignite change … too disruptive not to be heard
Ignite change … too transforming not to breathe-in






After-word: This piece was written June 4, 2020, a couple weeks after the murder of George Floyd. At first no words would come. The one thing that gets me through every crisis—my words—failed me. So I stayed silent, I listened within. I leaned into the discomfort, the angst, the anger, the upheavals of emotions. I allowed myself to grieve, to cry. I embraced the pain in the collective trauma being experienced simultaneously by brothas and sistahs across continents and in ‘hoods near and far from me. Then … when I was not just enraged but reenergized, when my soul found a measure of expressive peace, words returned and out flowed this piece—“I Can’t Breathe”.

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In creative solidarity, Dee

14 thoughts on “I Can’t Breathe ©Dawn Minott |with audio

  1. We must remember George Floyd. Early this month in Georgia. Beat and killed a young man . Left him on the floor and his body was invested with bugs. Lashawn Thompson, was his name. His grandmother posted the photos and the police apologies. Made me very angry. Face of color and haters of trans/gay people must be dealt with. I am glad I live in Michigan. We tried to get along.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: When Words Failed ©Dawn Minott – Poems & More

  3. Pingback: A Look Back at 2020: 5 Lessons – createdbyDEEsign

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