Broken Jewels by Tony Styxx
A poem for Jayla…
“Broken Jewels” by Tony Styxx
Alone in my room I could hear the millions of questions my 6yr old daughter asks her grandmother…
Some of food, but most are about a game show that has been modernized, but her senior still enjoys the nostalgic moments from answering as if she is contestant.
And then the channel has a change, and a news report speaks of a current movement not seen since a King had a jewel knocked loose from his crown or since a Queen was told to leave her throne.
In the walls of my home my 6yr old daughters questioned echoed “grand ma, what does black lives matter mean?”
And in that moment, I was a coward. How could I explain to her that as special as she think she is, it means nothing in the eyes of her oppressors? That her laugh is only accepted when at her expense, and that if she is going to take a picture make sure her ass is out and her head is cocked or they won’t see you. Be caked up in so much make up you lose your childhood. Dress older than you are, shake your ass, fight your kin, and maybe you will be lucky enough to hear them say your name with distaste for it’s pronunciation.
I laid as if postmortem had me in it’s grasp as I tried to find the courage to tell her she can be whatever she chooses as long as it is socially accepted, can be spun into media gold, and used as a conduit to spark taboo debates about her womanhood. That you will always be the blame for our heritage downfall, that you are fit for pleasure but not happiness. You are only as good as your degree and are as only as important as their needs.
How do I tell the one I hold the highest, that she is seen as the lowest no matter how tall her spirit may be? That no matter how good she is at behaving in our home, and being obedient in school, that one day her reward for this kind of integrity might be a beating with white pillows that resemble daddy’s hands. That ebony men will hate you for not submitting to their lack of growth, and that women of noir will spite you for being original, as if they can’t do the same. That no matter how diplomatic you are, the rest of the world will call you a threat. That you are no equal here.
Her voice haunts my inner sanctum. “What does black lives matter mean?”
It means to wear your hair with pride, because your bravery should not pay the balance of their inferiority. It means be as smart as you can and make them keep up. It means to continue dreaming in purple, walking as if rainbows fall at your feet, and keep laughing like the wind whispered a joke from God for only you to enjoy out loud. It means you have the right to be you, with no consequences. Be thankful if you are slim, a smile about your A’s be it cups or plus. That a big brain beats a big behind any day. That your southern draw is an extension of your mother, and you are the sweetest fruit of her roots. It means you too deserved to be loved by the world for who you are, where you come from and not just as a cash cow where culture is the currency for other races who live in debt. It means to be magic baby, you carry the universe in your Afro puffs, all of Africa in your skin, and generations of women weak or strong watch you take your place in the world of struggle only to emerge a citizen of greatness.
But I speak none of this. I only come from my door to be greeted by a chestnut grin standing less than 1000lifetimes from God’s throne.
And she says “hi daddy.”
And I cooked up the will to smile back.
I hugged my 6yr old daughter. Hoping that even though my words never made it to her ears, my intention made it to her heart.