Don’t read this when you’re tired or sad or have given up hope. This is a poem by a writer who is tired of the world we are still building together: a racist society. Ta-Nehissi Coates (he/him) and El Jones (she/her) aren’t the only ones who feel hopeless.
I am tired of work; I am tired of building up somebody else’s civilization.
Let us take a rest, M’lissy Jane.
I will go down to the Last Chance Saloon, drink a gallon or two of gin, shoot a
game or two of dice and sleep the rest of the night on one of Mike’s barrells.
You will let the old shanty go to rot, the white people’s clothes turn to dust, and
the Cavalry Baptist Church sink to the bottomless pit.
You will spend your days forgetting you married me and your nights hunting the
warm gin Mike serves the ladies in the rear of the Last Chance Saloon.
Throw the children in the river; civilization has given us too many. It is better to die
than it is to grow up and find out that you are colored.
Pluck the stars out of the heavens. The stars mark our destiny. The stars mark my destiny.
I am tired of civilization.
From: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.
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