Rashaad Thomas–Selected Works

Don’chu’ Worry Baby

Dear Sun-Flower,

Mulatto Marlboro buds kneel at the toes of South Mountain
cirrus carnal smoke, crystal (s)tars – confederate prison
pipeline stains hang, off the tongues of little brown girls.
 
But, Baby donchu’ worry

Your delicate toilet paper heart wipes false ink
lesions made from ashes thrown across the face
of empty corn fields that hug, corpses of suburban heroin
 
sacrificed their lungs, the oakened hands of addicts
giving birth to liberation in monsoons.  Be prepared, baby
strung out children with wiry hair will finger your braille wig
and mock our textured stories but they will be unable to understand.
 
Baby, donchu’ worry

Mommy and Daddy will not be able to shield you from white sand –
scapers who google the dirt for light-skinned Jezebels grown
in the rape tree beds where coyote patrols case the border.

We live in the rocky garden flooded with frothy dope
bags. No amber alert for missing junkies
syringes but scared wing — prints are beat by howling
sirens. Chirp, oh Ghetto Bird, at the moon
 
But, donchu’ worry baby
 
they are waiting for strange fruit flies to scatter from their dark nests. They flash
lights on your pedals while asleep to keep you warm.  We live
here because I want you to grow among the bronze outcasted flowers.
 
Baby, donchu’ worry

Mamma’s “No’s” protect you from the chill. But, we will not be able to be
there when Anglo gardeners pull their Daisies from locking
leaves with you. For it is uncouth, unrefined, even savage to seek a place
that allows you to breathe, escape the land of moths with butterfly wings.

          
Sincerely,
Your Proud Black Father

N@#$er Huntin’ Season
Poacha’s in blue is known in da’ ghetto
For killin’ lil’ Black boys wearin’ red hoodies.
Vicious wolves and wil’ boars nibble
Flesh cookin’ for hours, ‘splayed in da’ street,
A message to all da’ po’ Black people,
It’s demon season and the pigs are huntin’
Cleansin’ the world of Blackness and evil,
Dey fillin’ quotas and protectin’ dey’s women.

 
Sunday dinna’ wit’ Goldie Locks and da’ three bears
Southern fried chicken and watamelon kool-aid
Strange fruits danglin’ outside da’ winda’, dey stare
hungry, singin’ We Shall Overcome Dis Day “
Massa we’s hungry and simply want to survive
But, massa’ we can’no longa live dis’ Merican Nightmare

 

Ghetto Suburbs  

I wear a thin white mask on thick black skin
Deeply hidden in the graves of my mind
I welcome white death to closely listen
I am an angel in demon wings that walks the blue line
My being – metal bones, in a holy shell
Black rage molds, my cells form fists of power
Transform a pig’s world into a battlefield
He will always feel the warmth of my anger

I see mighty prisons through patriotic colors –
The police cars speeding to kill me again
Beat repeatedly and handcuffed by cowards
Born Black in America but not American
The Statue of Liberty is a whore to the core
Uncle Sam is a pimp trafficking war

Watermelon Boy

My soul and sinful skin
separate from fried chicken
wish bones, cautiously
I descend onto colonized land

the double glass doors close
where side walks
flow with milk and mourning
breeze,
my nose puckers

no turning back
my life depends
on offering food
to my ancestors

In my backpack
I carry the weight
of rotten watermelons
and picketed cotton
from banana fields
my father did not graduate
from the plantation

Thick brown rind walls
layers of epidermis lament
Wide eyes on white faces
point their lashes and wave
signing letters sharply
into my shoulder blades
scribbled loudly

I am able to read
the words in my skin
“Whites Only”

Back to the class
past mocked
perpetuated myths
visions of hate poke holes
into my lungs
afraid to speak
Asked a question
expected to not know

Unexpected vocabulary
Vibrates transparent space
Olive teacher turns
Red and white
“My blues”
people sing
louder than her heart pounding
jungle music
under her breast

She says,
“You don’t talk Black”

I want to jump from
the boat and swim
memories of childhood
chained
I cannot forget

The definition
of my presence
in a diversity
immersion program

I assimilate
reading, force fed
my spirit is full

I speak a foreign language
critical
of a demarcated history
that white privilege and guilt
are tired of hearing
and do not see necessary
change jingling

“I do not belong”

Black faces
among sweet white fingertips
I am drowned in silence
I die everyday

 

Rashaad Thomas is a husband, father, USAF Veteran, poet, and South Phoenix, AZ community member. His work can be found in a number of publications, most notably in the book Trayvon Martin, Race, and American Justice: Writing Wrong. He is a member of the Gutta’ Collective based in the Phoenix, a group committed to sharing a Black and Brown narrative through art and poetry to give a voice to the silent, isolated, and marginalized.