I dedicate this poem, “Searching for You,” to everyone who believes it is still possible to create a better world through human solidarity, loving empathy, selflessness, and anti-racist practices.
“Searching for You”
I have been searching for you since the day I was forcibly brought to this strange land.
four hundred years and one have passed,
you’re still not here;
I couldn’t find you when I was harassed;
You ran away from me during my long days of captivity.
You fled the scene when my oppressor uprooted me,
my family from our native land.
You deferred your strength to bring relief,
adding to my grief;
Now, I live in memory of a deferred dream,
causing my family to be ransacked;
conceived in blood, my children paid the price.
You let brutal men uncover my shame,
taking my virginity in violence and by force,
one, two, three, and even four staging the gaze,
giving me one child, two children, and even three of mixed blood to bear alone.
with flaming despairs, you allowed me to be branded on the breast,
Your absence is my pain;
your silence my sorrow.
I’ve spent my entire life craving your presence,
for four hundred years and one for your rescue.
I have searched for you in the hard places, in the desolate valley of segregation,
where my people are incarcerated and still on Death Row
to help us rise from the dark,
to lead us to the sunlit path of tranquility.
You are my good neighbor when I am weak,
my best friend when I am lonely.
You are the sure path to the mountaintop;
the spiritual light that shines in the dark.
You stand against systemic structures that
children of God;
you campaign against forces & powers that
and kill les miserables: black, brown, the poor;
and those clothed in rainbow colors.
You are the voice of enlightenment when things go wrong.
You are an ally to the poor and the marginalized,
a stronghold for the vulnerable.
I have been searching for you for four hundred years and one,
to heal my country,
to restore the place where life is cold;
You, who will not acquit the guilty for a bribe,
You, who will not deprive the innocent of her right;
You, who will put darkness out with your light.
You, who will condemn evil in this land.
When we find you, cords of falsehood will be crushed down.
How can we have communal peace and rights if you are not here?
How can we have respect for human life if you stay silent?
How can we have reparations without you leading the way?
How can we know truth and reconciliation if you are absent in our midst?
When you act, you make women and children safe in their homes;
With your words, you cast out worries;
with your strong arms, you dispel threats of death in the workplace.
You are strong enough to beat violent men and break down their arms.
I have been searching for you for four hundred years and one.
You are made up of seven perfect words, to make the world one,
The will of God has appointed you to perfect humankind,
and fulfill his promises to his image bearers.
You, the principle that regulates human life and brings balance to the world.
Your name enriches human relationships,
giving meaning to our hopelessness;
bringing joy to our sadness;
This word means tranquility.
This word is love.
This word is my folly: J-U-S-T-I-C-E.