Thursday Poem

When Franny Hammer Said

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired 

She meant
No more turned cheek
No more patience for the obstruction
of black woman’s right to vote
& plant & feed her family

She meant
Equality will cost you your luxurious life
If a Black woman can’t vote
If a brown baby can’t be fed
If we all don’t have the same opportunity America promised

She meant
Ain’t no mountain boulder enough
to wan off a determined woman

She meant
Look at my hands
Each palm holds a history
of the 16 shots that chased me
harm free from a plantation shack

Look at my eyes
Both these are windows
these little lights of mine

She meant
Nothing but death can stop me
from marching out a jail cell still a free woman

She meant
Nothing but death can stop me from running for Congress

She meant
No black jack beating will stop my feet from working
& my heart from swelling
& my mouth from praying

She meant
America! you will learn freedom feels like
butter beans, potatoes & cotton seeds
picked by my sturdy hands

She meant
Victoria Gray, Anna Divine & Me
In our rightful seats on the house floor

She meant
Until my children
& my children’s children
& they babies too
can March & vote
& get back in interest
what was planted
in this blessed land

She meant
I ain’t stopping America
I ain’t stopping America

Not even death can take away from my woman’s hands
what I’ve rightfully earned

Mahogany L. Browne
from Vibe Magazine