“Black Courage,” by Angel Gardner

Black Courage

There are wolves in wolves clothing
Telling the weak
That the sheep are the ones to fear,
You are that sheep baby boy.
Courage runs in your blood,
So you will be tapped into.

We live in a world where the authority
Shoots patterns into unarmed citizens
We live with crisp folds in blue uniforms,
Profiling our melanin.
Trying to connect imaginary holes
In speech leaking innocence,
Shoving bullets into bellies
And elbows into faces.

Because we decided,
Our home will be wherever the hell we make it.
We are sun favored kinky haired
Pains in privileged asses,
We are locked elbows
And softly swaying strange fruit.

So I will say again my son,
You will be tapped into
Courage runs through you.
Black courage,
Thicker than blood
But smooth as a sky blue stream.

Black courage I can’t teach you my love,
But I will lead by example.

America will try and tear the steel from our backbones
And replace afro
With star spangled shackles,
Don’t let them.

You can never love your black too loudly,
And there is no such thing
As holding your head too high.

Always remember your melanin is your greatest accessory.


Angel Gardner is the 2016/17 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. She read this poem at SAL’s sold-out SAL Presents event with Ta-Nehisi Coates on Sunday, November 5, 2017. Her book, Blood Melody, is available for purchase at Penmanship Books here.

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