Young Gifted & Black: A Poem

By Ebony Stewart

My name is not convenient;
it is the child forgotten –
stolen from historical value.
My name is the guilt you try
to shame me with, a burden
to the grief that haunts you.
Before my name could be full
and brave, it was lynched
and barbeque skeptical.
My name has been raped,
branded, and whipped.
My name is the chocolate milk
titty your babies clung to and from
a lost protagonist of ancient history.

Or did you forget how the story goes?

My name is how easy it is to
misplace the truth, to strip me
of all this mighty so I can be
a life under servitude.
My name is a reminder of nigger
children who get murdered
in the South, North, East and West.
Because my name is a threat;
my name is the absence in your amen.

Or did you forget how the stories go?

My name ain’t neva got a pass –
can’t, got too much oil slick, too much
scratch, punch, and fight.
My name is real confrontational.
Ain’t interested in your comfortable.
My name bite too hard.
Must’ve been caged.
Must’ve been animalistic once.
My name only necessary after it benefits you.
You say my name ain’t right.

Well, mama say everything
that has a beginning began in me,
say imma blistering queen,
say my name is a filter and
all the light gotta pass through me.
My name is a G I A N T, is rise, is healing,
is learning how to remember itself,
is the Congo – the beatin’ sound you dance to.
My name is the utterance of struggle
meets pride, meets grace, meets visible.

Yeah, you see me reinventing myself,
reclaiming my power.
My name be the hero that freed us,
is reborn negro and new growth.
My name done trying to figure out
why you don’t love me.
My name is a wealthy affirmation.
My name is what blackness done
been through and can be.
My name say I can’t be impossible
because my name be an existence.

Photo: Shutterstock

Ebony Stewart is all things black, woman, and magic. She is a published author, touring performance arts poet, and sexual health educator. She writes because she has too but eats cupcakes for fun.