crow_e

United States

23 neurotic crows in a recycled flesh suit
he/him || 17 || intp-t || lgbtq+
prosaic poet & sci-fantasy fiction writer
community ambassador alum [summer 2020]
published in wtw review issue 2.2
standing in solidarity with those angry

Message to Readers

UPDATE 7.19.20: Last week the school board voted to rename all three schools in my city named after confederates. When and what they'll be renamed is unclear, but plans are in motion.

quiet oppression in five acts

July 19, 2020


i
i don't know who they were, but they took down the statue in my city:  good
four people were arrested on charges of criminal mischief [bad]
and the city may face a fine for violating state law 
[the city of birmingham took down their
confederate memorial
and face a $25,000 fine]
but the confederate general who stood, facing north,
on a pedestal outside of a predominately Black school,
named for him
is gone now.
Robert E. Lee High School
but no one calls it that - it's just "Lee".
just like they call Jefferson Davis High School "JD". 
it takes away the weight - we look the other way and forget why 

ii
i wonder how it feels 
to see a symbol of your oppression,
standing over you, every day,
i wonder why statues that recall greek mythos stand in a fountain
on the spot slaves were sold, after walking through tunnels under
a street now called Commerce Street
to hide them from the public -
not out of shame, but out of disgust.
and then i stop wondering - because it all makes sense after you read
Alabama's current constitution:  created to establish a state of white supremacy. 

of course

iii
last year i learned that all confederate statues face north,
facing the enemy, my history teacher explained to us.
on the way home, i checked the compass on my phone as we passed it,
and sure enough, he was,
poised, iron spined, 
staring north.

iv 
bitterness runs deep - burned from reconstruction, 
the south wrote a fence around those deemed "worthy,"
clung tight to their money and values.
in fourth grade i was proud to live in the state with the longest constitution.
that was before i learned why, 
why even minor changes have to be passed as amendments,
amendments where the people of alabama must vote
[and don't, defaulting to "no," because god forbid they pay
more taxes].
there is a reason that schools are still segregated as per the constitution.
it is 2020 and our schools are segregated, not by law,
but by those with privilege,
and we are stuck in a loop -
those with money send their kids to private schools,
refuse to raise taxes and fund education for the public schools,
because my-kid-doesn't-go-there-so-why-should-i-care.
meanwhile the public schools sit in condemned buildings,
cut teacher units and overflow classrooms,
cannot learn because teachers cannot teach
for the amount of students. 
it is 2020 and there is a reason that our half-dozen private schools are majority white
in a city that is only thirty-two percent white

v
there is something to be said about erasing history,
but taking down symbols of oppression
that stand over the heads of children
is not erasure.
 
things happen in sequence and i'm left reeling sometimes - it's taken me a very long to get my thoughts together, and i'm sorry about that. 

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  • July 19, 2020 - 9:48am (Now Viewing)

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4 Comments
  • Karma's_Coming

    I would list my favorite lines but that would be an ungodly long comment. This is such a powerful piece and is written in such a way that informs beautifully. I’m kinda captivated by all your work. Like, how did I not know about these glorious things!?


    2 months ago
  • A Rose

    Oh, whatever an anti ode is, Southern US deserves it (I live in Maryland and I feel ya)


    4 months ago
  • mia_:)

    oh my gosh this is so well written! after reading it for the third time, I still have no words! N. put it way more eloquently than I ever could, but thank you for shining light on this difficult topic! <3


    5 months ago
  • N.

    this is put together so beautifully. something about the third part is oddly poignant in a way i can't describe beyond "yep, sounds like america" (coming from someone in a union state full of apparently ignorant citizens). the lens of this piece drives the power of everything home: the anger, the hurt, the self-awareness. the fifth part is everything. wonderful- necessary -work.


    5 months ago