Original Work

I, Too

I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
when company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table when company comes.
Nobody’ll dare say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–
I, too, am America.

Langston Hughes

My Brown Sons

Are the men they’ll
Become, be the men you actually see?
A mother’s love cannot explain how
you are viewed, not seen, different, beautiful.
Who know the pain but I?
A brown body, a brown man, a brown boy, I am–
he says.

When they view you, and
fear you for what they think you will be?
Fear has taken the invisible, the beautiful. They are not ashamed.

Who knows the pain but I?
His mother too.
A black body, a black man, a black boy, I am–
he once said.

A brown body, a brown man, a brown boy, my brown son, in America.

Shannon Griffin

I Look at the World

I look at the World
From awakening eyes in a black face
And this is what I see:
This fenced-off narrow space
Assigned to me.

I look then at the silly walls
Through dark eyes in a dark face – 
And this is what I know:
That all these wall oppression builds
Will have to go!

I look at my own body
With eyes no longer blind
And I see that my own hands make 
The world that’s in my mind.
Then let us hurry, comrade, 
The road to find. 
– Langston Hughes

The World That’s in My Mind

It doesn’t matter where you are from,
there is no hope for awakening.
 They cannot see, for they don’t have eyes
 Outside of their world, they live  in
this place, privileged, protected. Policed. My love, you are not a
comrade, nor a friend. Just a black
life, a truth they cannot face.

I overhear, “I couldn't do that job”, and
 “I know I would use force”!. Saying, isn’t this
America?  Do they know the job is
to protect, police the people not of their world, for what
crime it doesn’t matter. I
 Fear that with a black life, innocent they do not See

 Who am I
You don’t see that i see your look
You say you’d be on probation the first week, you scoff at
The idea of anger from the-- “other people” you said, my 
People, my love, my children, my family. Your own
Motive supported by badge, emboldened, fueled by contempt for the black body

- Shannon Griffin