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I Can’t Breathe by Godfrey Cymande Vincent

posted 10 Dec 2014, 06:30 by Gerry Kangalee

I Can’t Breathe

“I can’t breathe” 
‘cause the atmosphere is polluted with the stench of bullet riddled bodies on the roadside,
crying out for justice,
crying out for justice and liberty for all;
a promise the Founders say is for all; the Charter say is for all.  

Yet, some deny that sweet freedom:
saying we are children of Ham;
a twist to a lie which has become truth that is packaged and sold
perpetuating the continual selling of souls. 

“I can’t breathe”

‘cause we thought we had a dream,
a dream that say “be,”
a dream that say “achieve,” 
a dream that say no limits,
a dream that say no boundaries,
a dream that say no more chains.

But the dream is nothing but a nightmare:
filled with deadly chokeholds that rob people of the freedom 
to breathe the air the Great I AM created. 

“I can’t breathe”

‘cause when we cry freedom the forces think rebellion 
and send their fortified armies in the streets to deny the freedom they say we have.  
The freedom Jefferson say we have.
The freedom Lincoln say we have. 
We want that freedom not just Madison Avenue freedom
but real freedom to dream, to create, to build, to vision all possibilities. 

“I can’t breathe”

‘cause every time we say “I too am a Man” others say we are: 
sub-humans, demons, monsters, lazy vagabonds, 
menace to society, shiftless, unproductive, uneducated, slaves for life.  
But they don’t know or care to know that we are: 
the “Real McCoy,” the jazz, the blues, the body and soul, the renaissance,
the fire from Azusa Street and the first martyr in the American Revolution. 

“I can’t breathe”

‘cause when we try to breathe freedom we are assassinated, jailed, exiled, silenced
‘cause we dare link the dreams of the black man and the barefoot man
from Selma to Soweto,
from Montgomery to Mumbai,
from Ferguson to Fyzabad,
from Concord to the Congo,
from Huntsville to Hanoi,
from Brooklyn to Beirut,
from Staten Island to Sao Paulo.
We know and they know that all of us “can’t breathe”
‘cause of the hands of the International Monster Phantom that is crushing our dreams. 

“I can’t breathe”

‘cause we have no jobs,
jobs that have been outsourced, that have chained cities,
that have bankrupted cities,
that have mortgaged cities
to a street walled with corporate vultures
that has brought blight and killed hopes and dreams,
that has reduced us to hustling loosey,
that has us working for joints and superstores
that supersize their profits and undersize our pay.  

“I can’t breathe!”
“I can’t breathe!”

The poet has noted that “last words matter.”
Yes, the griot has penned “last words matter”
‘cause history has recorded this day
when the last words “I can’t breathe” thundered in the heavens and vibrated all around the earth.
It has put all of us on notice that we need to make history. 

© Godfrey Cymande Vincent
© Produced by Godfrey Cymande Vincent for Red Hand Entertainment 2014.