Black, Trans, & Still Breathing – The Feminist Wire

Black, Trans, & Still Breathing




it all started in a slave-ship
the belly of a beast whose appetite your ancestors could neva’ satisfy
but that didn’t keep the behemoth from feeding
and after the ship shit out there remains
like a barn owl vomiting up the hair and bones of field mice
not willing to let go of the mortal coil reincarnated
then it all started on an auction block
ten feet from soil you just saw for the first time in your life
but could only grow to resent
you were sold before you even knew what day of the week it was
worked from when the moon whispered until the sun screamed
and when its rays baked you like a pie left out on a kitchen ledge
you fell dead
but refusing to go before you manifested all you could
your soul remained on this realm
then it all started in a war
strange men told you your freedom was finally of concern to them
and gave you a gun
it wasn’t the best and neither were the clothes but massa needed to be taught a lesson
and you would be damned if you died a slave
so bullets flew from your rifle tantamount to Aladdin rubbing the genie’s lamp
only these bullets weren’t wishes but a declaration of independence
or so you thought
when the casualties were counted your corpse was discovered amongst the heap
but your soul once again couldn’t leave when freedom had finally come knockin’ on ya’ door
so you gathered your resolve and gave life another chance
to disappoint you
and that it did
then it all started up norf’
some place big
some place cold
some place fast enough to make you forget the phantom pains those whippins’ left
“a factory job ain’t much different from pickin’ tobacco”, you said
“but at least dis’ time you ain’t gots’ ta’ water the crops with your tears”
the unions weren’t made fa’ niggas
and they told you this every time you got ta’ bankin’ on a promise
quick to remind you that that promise was made ta’ white men n’ not you
so they paid you less
told you ta’ shut up
told you ta’ stay in your place
n’ be grateful they even let you sweep the floors
and you were
because at least up norf’ the klan couldn’t turn your torched body into beef jerky
and pickle ya’ dreams like a jar ah’ hogmogs or pig’s feet
but what you, didn’t know
was that they traded them badges for sheets once you crossed the Mason Dixon line
and the grand wizard became the chief of police
and the folks who’d rather hang you would now prefer just ta’ shoot you dead
but once again
not quite done birthing all of your prismatic-self
you came back to the third dimension
then it all started behind a picket line
dogs bittin’ you like the bone nem’ white folks jus’ couldn’t stop pickin’
wata’ hoses louda’ and stronga’ than the ocean ya’ ancestors were forced to cross
you laid-up in that city street bloodied and unconscious afta one too many billy clubs did you in
but wudn’t a Molotov cocktail strong enough
to incinerate the glimmer of freedom in your heart
so you came back yet again
then it started in Boystown, Christopher Street, the Gayborhood
you was 14
when mama n daddy cudn’t have you corruptin’ the otha’ chirren’ with that homosexual spirit
so you struck it alone
in a world where being black is a death sentence
being black and trans turned you into a zombie
cuz’ even in death your body seemed to haunt them
they found you
one limb on 34th
and the other in a dumpster on 63rd
after a trick had let you baptize them in the waters of your divinity
but turned violent when the tides took them into a place they’d neva’ seen
but you refusing to let go of a life you had finally found the courage to live
reassembled yourself
not like a vase put back together with nostalgia and guerilla glue
but a Phoenix
rising from the dawn to greet a day your were promised
for you have survived holocausts since inception
so what’s a belch to a tornado
what’s a forest-fire to a supernova
and what is death, to a muthafuckin’ Phoenix
when resurrection, is your morning yawn
you arise each day after they kill your spirit, hopes, and sanity
and still manage to find enough of it to keep moving on
you have survived trips across the ocean in ships that you should never have known
whips dancing on your back fasta’ than Step N’ Fetchet combined
and dodged bullets like the rain
and now
here you are
standing in front of the world
daring it to bring on the next apocalypse
because when the bombs make impact and the smoke clears
there you will be
Black, trans, and still breathing


KOKUMO is a writer! Buy her Lambda-Award Winning book “Reacquainted With Life” on Amazon or via Topside Press. KOKUMO is a musician! Listen to her debut EP, “There Will Come A Day” on YouTube. And KOKUMO, is a survivor! And no, resilience, has never been this sexy!