Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Sheila Henry

Slavery was abolished in America almost 200 years ago
but the system refuses to relinquish a sad history
binding young black men as they remain prey
and are locked up in a system to perform free labor
blue mood cops the modern day crackers
the new age slave hunters to capture them.

They clip black wrists in handcuffs
the updated version of chains once
used to shackle down the slaves
for transport on market days
now they fill prison cells to work for
masters whose guns are trained
on their backs just in case they should run.

The traffic stop a gold mine to capture new blood
a broken taillight, a freshener on the rearview mirror
tinted windows will get a white male a ticket or warning
will get a black male maimed, killed or imprisoned
driving while black/brown the underlying crime.

I can hear their deceitful voices in my quiet mind
thirsty cops wanting to get their
fix of blood on their hands excited
to get their bragging rights and to pump
their chests ‘I got another nigger today’, they boast
laughing at their conquests.

Stop resisting they shout while punching
and kicking a responsive body to pain.
How can one not move receiving such an assault to
one’s body and with punches to one’s face and head?

What a bunch of evil men are Chauvin and his kind
may their souls cry out from the heat that awaits them
when they meet their master—grateful for all the
blood they’ve collected for him through the merciless
killings they performed on black lives
after all these years reminding us again
that unfortunately black lives just don’t matter.

They say reform of tactics is needed for the bad seeds,
but how about reforming the entire broken structure and adding
some empathy to go along with that please?

The cry “Black Lives Matter” not a threat to a nation
is actually a cry for respect, compassion, empathy
it’s to spotlight the cruelty and inequity
placed on a group of people seeking to overcome
the knee on their necks to get the same treatment
as everyone else.


Sheila’s writing style can best be categorized as Visual Poetry, blending emotion and vision into a poem or story of color. Her poems and short stories are featured at Spillwords Publications, Literary Yard, Sweety Cat Press Anthology, I, The Writer, and Youtube Poetica2 series, Cafe Lit.UK and Clarendon House Publications Anthology Poetica 2



  1. Incredible presentation, a theme that can easily incite those unwilling to believe your message left without a reason to disagree. Your verse struck hard touching hearts souls without confrontation. Excellent verse

  2. Someone that gets it, incarceration is the modern day slavery, nothing worse than seeing a young man pinned to the ground barely breathing as police or prison staff basically assault them. A powerful message that needs to be told. Best wishes,


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