Carry the Stones  

 

 

Don’t forget to sing the death song

out loud, what they have done 

becomes vague, drifts in memory and mixes with TV

I’m trying to remember, wasn’t it Yellow Thunder killed 

in the snow by white men outside a bar in South Dakota

while white women looked on?

 

It is important for me to know, to keep these stones alive 

to hold them in my palm and under my tongue

smooth like the river bottom the coolness drawing strength

from warm skin, it is alive these stories we must carry

don’t let them fade blurred into this thing they call the past

which demands of us to forget 

and stumble towards their future

 

The children of Palestine throw stones at tanks and bulldozers

the bullets take the children down, for the crime 

of throwing history alive, at the soldiers that come 

with death and forgetting.

We too are familiar with this version of death and forgetting,

it is our national disease

 

These heavy stones carry us to the bottom where 

Emmitt Till and Tamir Rice run hand in hand from the river 

dreams folded up like tiny wings, 

they will kill children

 

This is all you need to understand

to know what we are up against

they will kill children on purpose, on accident 

by default, through economics, starvation

with bombs, indifference 

 

Chant down the names through time

on and on this river of sorrow

Renisha McBride, Tina Fontaine, Sandra Bland 

Eric Garner, Phillip Quinn, Freddie Gray

 

I want to set pink flowers adrift for you all

watch the current carry them to a place where your smiles

are a daily sunrise and not frozen in time

 

What they have done, Yellow Thunder 

bleeding in the snow, carry it 

taste the tears freezing on the skin

carry the bruise of these strange fruits

dare a gentle act in a brutal world 

and then

 

sing the death song 

out loud

carry the stones 

fill your pockets

carry the stories

build circles of remembering

circles of stones

don’t forget, don’t ease into 

and get comfortable

with that forgetting

carry stories

fill your hands

with clear water,

the weight of history is good for us

it holds us here 

it keeps us here

where real life goes on

round and round 

and does not forget.

 

 

 

 

(For Sha Cage)