by Donald Vincent
“We need magic / now we need the spells, to raise up / return, destroy, and create. What will be / the sacred word?” –Amiri Baraka
The sacred word is not, hands up, don’t shoot
Nor vivre la revolution. The magic word can’t be
Murmured in a state of asphyxiation.
Where there are words, there is no peace.
There’s no magic in the quotes and hopes of
Dr. King or celebrities placed on pedestals. If
The magic words are in books and historical texts
Is ignorance not reading the same words echoed
Years apart? Decades apart? Centuries apart?
Being oblivious to racist sentiments lends credence
To the erasure of black bodies as a consequence.
Exhaustion is exhausting and tonight, blackness
Is the magic. The sacred word is power, wielded
Like an unrequited love of culture, but not the people.
Donald Vincent is the author of Convenient Amnesia (Broadstone Books). He is also Mr. Hip, a recording artist and lover of all things art. He currently teaches English Composition at UCLA and African-American Literature at Emerson College – Los Angeles. When he is not teaching, he can be found in the kitchen tinkering with plant-based recipes. Originally from Southeast, DC, he currently resides in Los Angeles and at https://www.hidonaldvincent.com.