Tribute Poem by Titus Kaphar

I’ve been reflecting on how to express my feelings over the last couple of weeks about the horrible murder of George Floyd and I just had no words to say. Then, this morning I came upon this beautiful painting called Analogous Colors and poem by Titus Kaphar in Time magazine and I wanted to share it with others. As an ally I remind myself that I need to amplify the voices of people of color now more than ever. Please read and share as you feel moved.

I
cannot
sell
you
this
painting.

In her expression, I see Black mothers
who are unseen, and rendered helpless in
this fury against their babies.

As I listlessly wade through another cycle of violence against Black people,

I paint a Black mother…
eyes closed, furrowed brow,
holding the contour of her loss.

In this what it means for us?
Are black and loss analogous colors in America?
If Malcom could not fix it,
if Martin could not fix it,
if Michael,
Sandra,
Trayvon,
Tamir,
Breonna and
Now George Floyd…
can be murdered
and nothing changes…
wouldn’t it be foolish to remain hopeful?
Must I accept that this what it means to
be Black in America?

Do
not
ask
me
to be
hopeful.

I have given up trying to describe the
feeling of knowing that I cannot be safe
in the country of my birth…

How can i explain to my children that the
very system set up to protect others could
be a threat to our existence?

How do I shield them from the
psychological impact of knowing that for
the rest of our lives we will likely be seen
as a threat, and for that
We may die?
A MacArthur won’t protect you.
A Yale degree won’t protect you.
You well-spoken plea will not
change hundreds of years of
institutionalized hate.
You will never be as eloquent as Baldwin,
you will never be as kind as King…
So, isn’t it only reasonable to believe that
there will be no change soon?

And so those without hope…
Burn

This Black mother understand the fire.
Black mothers understand despair.
I can change NOTHING in this world,
but in paint,
I can realize her…
This brings me solace…
not hope, but solace.
She walks me through the flames of rage.
My Black mother rescues me yet again.
I want to be sure that she is seen.
I want to be certain that her story is told.
And so, this time
America must hear her voice. This time
America must believe her.

One
Black
mother’s
loss
WILL
be
memorialized.

This time
I will not let her go.

I
cannot
sell
you
this
painting.

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