When you get tired of dying before your eighteenth birthday
and when you’re tired of hearing that you’re worthless anyway,
that protest sign, you will put down and the fire in your soul
will burn through your body that is four hundred years old.
When you get tired of police brutality and the injustice of gentrification,
and when you get tired of the school-to-prison pipeline of no education,
that protest sign, you will put down and the marching on tired feet
will not be enough to quench the thirst for liberation and you won’t accept defeat.
When you get tired of the National Guard getting called out to stop you
and when they fire the shots at your tired, worn-out body, though that’s nothing new,
that protest sign, you will put down and you must heed the words of Malcolm X.
For no man can continue to surrender to ropes tightened around innocent necks.
And when you get tired of mass incarceration because of the color of your skin
and when the cops are on your ass from sun up to sun down, yet again,
that protest sign, you will put down and you will listen to the anger in your heart.
For no Black man, woman or child can resist the revolution and you must take part.
And when the smoke has cleared and so many lie dead or wounded from the fight
and when you think that what you did was all for nothing and that good is never right,
that protest sign that you put down, shove it up the white man’s ass and turn around
And torch everything in sight; every white man’s asset, burn it to the ground!
Shelby I. Courtland
©2015 Shelby I. Courtland
When you get tired, my Black brothers and sisters, you will realize that protest signs, marches and hands raised in the air is not enough. When you get tired of hearing that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is to be revered for his non-violent stance of supplicating himself to his enemy and encouraged you to do likewise, you will then realize your only course of action and you will take it. The white man knows this and that is why he is hell-bent on incarcerating you off the streets; that is why he is hell-bent on donning that blue or brown uniform, once he sheds his white sheet, and commences to riddle you with hundreds of bullets. He knows what’s coming. You don’t. Not yet. But you will. Yes, that’s right. He already knows what his fate is and who is going to seal it, but you don’t. Not yet. But you will. And when you do, it is game over for him and he knows that!