C.L. Butler

I feel the pain of my ancestors, 

sewn deep within my roots.

finely tied, like cornrows. 

a warrior’s hairdo. you call it fashion.

I keep rubbing my eyes, 

thinking I can wake up

From this nightmare, 

a tale of generational trauma 

My American horror story, 

Filled with villains on smartphones

No cut scenes, no Hollywood studios

Death on camera, murderers, badges.

Black lives, vanishing in flashes

These struggles are pre technology

Pre industry, pre American equality

They go all the way back to the Middle Passage

Where we would soon be greeted 

by owners, thieves, and assassins

Then upon freedom they incarcerated us

by the masses, herding us with a fiery passion

Across the nation, from Philly to Calabasas

Complete devastation, helicopter crashes

Next up was a pandemic to match it. 

with America’s glass ceiling cracking the fastest

The heat is turned up, don’t you feel it blastin’?

In other words we can’t let this moment pass us

Cuz society may revert to the ways of the ruthless

So when it comes to the movement, it’s like music

I’ll be a metronome, I’ll stay in tune with it

Listen to the melody of our cries, 

Feel our treble, from the harmony of our spirit

we built America from ashes to brilliance

On cotton fields, from bread crumbs to billions

Listen up, We are the progeny of the resilient.

C.L. Butler is an African American and Dutch writer, historian, and entrepreneur from Philadelphia, based in Houston, TX. In 2017, his poem Laissez Faire was published by The Bayou Review. He has spent most of his career working in sports and art administration but now has fully dedicated himself to writing full time.

Issue 1

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