“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that a great feeling of love guides a true revolutionary. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.”
– Che Guevara, A New Society: Reflections for Today’s World
The right ventricle
Bleeds with the blood of every
Black man and woman who has been murdered at the hands of the police,
Who has been called a criminal in their own neighborhood.
Who hears a siren and has to wonder if that anxious intake of breath
Will be their last.
The pulmonary artery
Bleeds and bursts to fill my weeping lungs
With the blood of thousands of
Missing and murdered indigenous women,
Who will never come home to their families.
The left atrium
Bleeds with the boiling plasma of every woman who has been told
She is worth less because of what she is wearing,
Who is told that she must be silent,
Lest the life of her assaulter is upended
Like hers was.
The right atrium, battered,
Bleeds with bricks and broken glass
Hurled at trans women of color
Who were fighting for their right to exist in this world,
By the men we were supposed to trust to “protect and serve.”
The left ventricle
Bleeds so much that
The blood runs out of my body
Onto stolen land
Where it will soon rain down with acid
To pollute our dying mother Earth.
Is a warzone within my chest
Where I bleed out for the genocide of my ancestors
While the blood of colonizers replenishes my veins
To make me forget.
Do not forget.
People who try
To stitch my bleeding heart back up
Haphazardly with blunt needles and barbed wire
“Don’t worry. If it’s not happening to you,
It’s not happening at all.”
What they fail to consider
Is that complacency is complicity,
Their apathy is my outrage.
A bleeding heart
Is not an insult.
It’s a badge of honor.
There is no weakness in having
Human empathy for human rights.
For human lives.
And despite your derision,
My heart will keep bleeding itself dry.
And I will let it.
If my heart bleeds hard enough,
My blood will fill the hollow cavity
Where yours is supposed to be.
In honor of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Stephan Clark, Philando Castille, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Jonathan Farrell, Renisha McBride, Jordan Edwards, Jordan Davis, Aiyana Jones, the Charleston 9, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, Corey Jones, John Crawford, Terrence Crutcher, Clifford Glover, Claude Reese, Randy Evans, Yvonne Smallwood, Amadou Diallo, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Nia Wilson, and all others who lost their lives because of racist institutions that weaponized the color of their skin.