I Can’t Breathe


Lauren Roman

Digital Art created by Lauren Roman

I can’t breathe,

The solemn cry of that terrible sting,

That hopeless plea that prevails earth’s light,

And sends its people into darkness, black as night.

The inhalation of the people’s breaths,

That say one is better than all the rest.

Somehow they believe color makes crime all the better,

And wipes the hands clean of a whiter than white sinner.

While darker skin signifies and symbolizes Adam’s offense,

When reality reveals, our blood makes us all guilty nonetheless.

Wake up! And look upon the darkness of your hearts,

It bears no color, only the vice of blood and its harrowing scars.

How prideful it is to say, that we are better if we look this way,

When it’s clear that hurt occurs when man’s vain presumption declares

That skin somehow covers the weight of a multitude of sins.

They believe it would be easier to segregate righteousness,

But I’m afraid self-importance has begun to overrun goodness,

For the wicked soul will do anything to feel more important.

Upon this, I can’t breathe,

Because the world has bought the belief,

That man is animal and can be used and forgotten,

One kind was made to rot in social constructs,

The gravest of coffins,

While the other was born into privilege,

Crafted to be followed and adored for their riches.

Yet, we overlook the heart and the value it has for just beating,

And are fooled by dangerous thoughts and wicked feelings,

That convince us our value comes from fame, skin, power, and money,

Indeed, our rush and detestable tendencies have bade us to forget

That God made man to breathe.

He made the heart to beat,

And He delighted in their colors,

The beautiful characteristic of man’s rich diversity

A part, so important, it would seem

That one shift in man’s thought concerning it,

Would strip him of his dignity.

And rid him of all respect.

We need to guard our hearts and our words and thoughts,

For there are things about people,

We ‘ought not to overlook or tear apart.

The very act, as we’ve seen,

Incites unimaginable chaos.

It allows for heartbreaking loss

And a distortion of the reality that we have all been made in God’s loving arms.

How wicked the path that allows man to think that he can take a life,

When all men share the same cavernous scars.

And all are tormented by sin’s wicked part

As a woman borne of flesh and blood

I can’t breathe,

Because people have chosen to believe

That a soul isn’t a soul unless it is perceived through the way a racist sees,

When, in reality, the man goes blind,

And the white man grows oblivious

To the freedom to love and accept people who are different from who they are.

That, above everything else,

Strip the man of his skin, flesh, and blood,

You’ll find the same as your inside,

The beating of a soul

Man’s richest part.

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