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Around the time when children learn their ABC’s,
Kids that look like me learn how to survive The New Jim Crow.

I remember when my Grandmother told me:
“Grandson you can’t be outside playing with no toy gun!”

She always feared them boys in blue would come through and shoot me for playing with a toy gun.

I remember learning about police killings while the neighborhood children were playing in the snow.

I remember when my Grandmother told me:
“Look at me boy. And pay close attention.
I know you are young, gifted, and black
But to them
You will always FIT THE DESCRIPTION.”

O how the fear in her eyes pierced my soul…
She feared when I let my hair grow.
She feared when I wore a hoodie.

I remember wondering:
Why is that Black Children can’t wear a ski mask when it’s cold?
Why are Black Men considered militant when we let our hair grow?
How they don’t mistake the white kids for hoodlums when they wear a hoodie?

Yet what I remember most about talking with my Grandmother was her affinity for her people…
Always dressed in black.
I remember the little lady that never took no shorts.
I remember the little lady that taught me to dream BIG.
I remember her wise words.
I remember her convictions.

I remember how Grandma would speak life unto me,
But for the life of me,
I can’t remember discussing the birds and the bees.
Yet I remember “The Talk.”

I remember self-care over welfare…
Nah, I don’t remember the birds and the bees.
Yet I remember many Talks.

O Grandma
I remember when you said:
“In the sixties, over 70% of the world’s dope fiends lived right here in New York.”

I now understand what you meant when you said they’d rather see us dead, addicted, or imprisoned.

Thank you for demanding that I take command of the language
And thirst knowledge.
Who knows who I’d be if you didn’t feed my poetic diction.

My poems are not poems…
My moral compass guides me to draw attention to social injustice, systemic racism, and other afflictions.

@StevieStreets #historyheritageandhumanities #poem | Since We’re Talking (Let’s Talk About The Talk)