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The Blog


The Ankh


Black skin glimmered in the zenith sun as heat waves drowned their brows in perspiration. Hands unremittingly reaching for cotton plants - hands incessantly reached for cotton plants. Hands reaching –hands picking. Hands picking until callouses on their fingers could only tell stories of pain. The pus oozing from their fingernails was a metamorphosis of the yellow sun beating on their backs like the Congo drums forgotten years in the past. The wind was silent during day. And the birds sang a song without a tune; a tune without words to comfort them from silence.

The answer to their way home no longer rested on their sols but they are still running.

 Day was the keeper of their agony. The rustling of the cotton plants came from the pulse of human steps giving sound to the empty morning. The wind watched the sun drown them in acidic perspiration that disfigured their minds and curbed their self-image. The scorching hands of the sun dried their thrust for freedom. Jim and Crow wrapped them around blankets of knives made of lies and shattered dreams. Piercing the truth that resided in their souls they bleed truth and esteem - refugees to the human experience.  Colored in black skin but feel like Palestinians.

 Their hearts were a desert where they learnt to hate themselves.  The atrophying organ became the favorite place where hope and faith where barred - despair grew gardens of disappointment. They dug within themselves for treasure but found lumps of shivering dreams blanketed by maggots.  Confidence was a beaten wet dog.  “Life was a broken winged bird that could never fly.” They use to stand on their hearts to look over their fence of pain but now they hearts were stolen underneath them. The wind only whispered what pain it saw in the fields to the moon in the presents of the starry wallpapered covered sky. Knowing the sky’s celestial bearing would hide it from the sun’s scorching hand. The wind would mourn with them; it would blow gently - singing them a song that soaked their ears in kisses.  And freedom became the favorite story it told, just so it could ease their allying spirits and drown the sound of their empty rambling stomachs.

The answer to their way home no longer rested on their sols but they are still running

Kisses from the night breeze brought them dreams of happiness that lasted while their eyelids were shut.  Closing them tightly not wanting to awake to the horror of day. They woke up each morning still with the sea breeze in their breath and the clinking of chains in their steps. The blisters on their feet reminisce about the days in the Kalahari where their toes sunk into the sand and felt the warmth of the earth. Embedded in the soles of their feet lay a dream to run to the road map of language because it is the only way to their culture.  It is the only way to figure out where they going and a reminder where there are from.  But they feet where never meant to dream.  Their feet run the racetrack.  Their perspiration of home quickly evaporated from their feet leaving the skin dry. Leaving the skin brittle. Skin marked with years of slavery. Each blister and cut with a story of its own.   A bruised toe from a fence trampled on, calloused feet from running on the railroad, and broken knuckle from a punch thrown to defend once home.   The answers of their way home no longer lay under the nails of their feet but are lost in footprints of time printed in maps of their palms. People carved by the same God but painted in different colors.  The answer to their way home no longer rested on the sols of their feet because the long walk to freedom no longer seemed plausible since the road was black but was marked over in white. Born in Africa but feel like Palestinians. 

The answer to their way home no longer rested on their sols but we are still running.

We now vacate in jail cells and sunbath in the projects without a place to call home.  The age has changed but we are still running.

They say to us it’s not about race but we are still running. They say its not about race but we are still feel like slaves.

They say to us it’s not about race but we are still running.

They say to us it’s not about race but we are still running.

-Bulelani M Jili '16