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Are you weary in your fight for social justice, racial reconciliation, or understanding?

This spoken word poem is for you: An encouragement to keep pressing.

Video courtesy of  Sean Loftin and Ubertonic Films.

Post image credit: Gavin Whitner

Awake
By: Mazaré Rogers

You have
bags under your eyes

bags the size of boulders

shoulders slumped
heavy head hanging low
your breathing,
shallow and slow

body bent crooked
from carrying a movement
for too long.

You’ve mustered the strength
to meet my gaze
your eyelids fluttering
broken shutters struggling
to stay awake
your pupils hollow like caves.

I know that face.
It mirrors mine.

You are tired.
Tired of talking
about race,
of hearing
Black this,
White that,
Mike Brown,
Freddie Gray,

Pavement dripping red
as another unarmed
black man is killed

And then another
unarmed black man is killed

And today the news anchor relayed
that yet another
unarmed black man
has been slain.

The daily replay of gunplay
plagues me.
Young boy
playing tag with the law
got tagged from a distance

Shot while turned and running,
Harmless
or shot while standing
still on a corner
while drinking a glass of water

While talking on the phone
or mowing the lawn
or maybe shot
not while doing anybody harm,
but just being

Shot while sleeping,
because everybody knows
it’s illegal for a black boy to be dreaming.

The media’s
got our emotions
on this bullet train
circling the track,
following all the cops’ bullets
leaving barrels headed for Blacks.

First stop,
outrage.
Then sorrow.
Next minute,
we’re down the hill into hopelessness
and it takes days to get back up
the hill to hope for tomorrow.

I’m ready to quit,
ready to chuck this
social justice
throwback to the 60s
nonsense.

We march
We chant
We sing
We link arms
We love hard
And for what?
For naught?

For naught.

For naught?

What if it’s not?
What if
we’re doing something
big,
kingdom-sized

but it’s only traceable on a microscopic level
and we would need God’s lenses to measure
how many opposing racial atoms are bonding together

with every protest,
every banner,
every sit-in, die-in,
one-on-one conversation
vigil, conference, festival,
song, poem, painting.

Every second of our days
God is at work.

How do we know?
He’s the God
of the mustard seed,
the two mites,
and the sparrows.

So although we are dog tired,
we must
keep running,
keep fighting,
keep loving,
keep writing,

and staying awake.

Mazaré Rogers is a spoken word poet hailing from Durham, NC who describes herself as raw honey, “a teaspoon of brutal truth fresh from the comb–bold and thick with sweet.”

She received her writing training from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where she studied English and Creative Writing. As an educator and conference speaker, she delights in leading workshops that help writers identify their unique literary voice and cultivate their technical writing skills. To that end, she co-founded the poetry writing group Poets’ Ink at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO where she earned her Master of Divinity (2016).

This performance poet has since moved to Washington, DC where she serves as the Community Life Coordinator at the church Grace Downtown. There she leads the Cultural Intelligence ministry, guiding groups in becoming more culturally aware and committed to loving those who are different.

Mazare is thrilled about the recent release of her spoken word album, Raw Honey, which features poetry about faith, the African-American experience, her love for words, and more. Experience it now at www.mazare.bandcamp.com.

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