The following poem by Sydney Epps has received a nomination for the 2020 Pushcart Prize.
Is it a sin in this skin?
No; it is a blessing
See, the best teacher I had was this wrap
Gifting a knowledge more potent than college
A test that got y’all shook, people of color got books
Of this real accounting mounting
Emotional intelligence became relevant
When I realized, the problem wasn’t me
The girl is good
But I’m not better because I left the hood
And this climb brought new insight
Gave me the experience to see
Through various eyes, the pile of lies
In which we’ve uncovered
The battered bodies of police threats
We’re all targets. Even them.
Because if we pull out of the Middle East
How else is a veteran supposed to eat?
All lives can’t matter if oil is the entity
No more clans, sets, or gangs necessary
Because we know where our enemy lives in recluse
We are the 99 left behind; together, we can’t lose
Because the minority here, it ain’t in the whole world, you know
Geronimo, Karl, James, and Audre said so
And the fam that we ran with knew all truth
Yet we stopped reading
And fact left with the right
So now McGraw-Hill makes the heroes straight, cis and white
And the public schools leak, segregationists creep
“Get your vouchers! Get your ass on the train away from Brown, get on Board
We’re shutting down Miscegenation Station
Gerrymandering ain’t enough to shut them up.”
With this skin, I have learned to live in harmony.
THE BEST OF ME IS DARK, AND YET, STILL SEEN.
Superior is pale is the tale, the rest learn
But charcoal under pressure makes a diamond, the best learn
I kiss no bums. I am no bum.
And no creams I need to have fun in this sun
I am one with this sun
I am one with Him, son
Active, yet unmoved. I am Earth.
She is the ground that I am rooted in
I am not above her in any way
I am with her in every way
That’s some pragmatic magic
So the truth stays intact, yet under attack
I am blessed, none the less, for the access
I own codes they can’t crack