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Pushcart Nominee, “Nina Taught Me” by Sydney Epps

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

#tobeyounggiftedandblack.

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