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Poetry of Issue #8
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In grieving George Floyd's death and in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement

You are my other self.
We are one.

When you are killed,
your life smothered
like a candle
whose light did not matter;
my life is thrown
into darkness,
a part of me
suffocated as I inhale
your death
and my soul withers.
I am left crawling
in the dark,
searching for
a piece of my soul
that I cannot retrieve.

When you are destroyed
in the prime of life
a part of me wrinkles
into old age and
falls into a heaviness of spirit
that pours its toxic density
upon my heart,
stealing all joy.

When you and your family,
your community,
do not have the means
to live healthily,
chunks of my vibrancy
fall by the roadside
leaving potholes in
my wellness.

You are my other self.
We are one.

When you cannot overcome adversity,
my song drowns in a sea of inequality.
When you are not given the tools
to grow and thrive,
my wings are weakened.
My flight falters.

When you are massively imprisoned,
my freedom is shattered into 2.3 million fragments,
each an African-American incarcerated
in this punitive, racist and opportunist system.

We are sick, my people.
Our national body
is attacking its own cells,
generating a cancerous condition
that is killing our black people
and destroying the wholeness
of We, the People.

The malady may not be obvious
to those who do not want to see.
So many have turned a blind eye
and a deaf ear,
and as such, they may never see nor hear
the richness we are all missing
because you, our dark brother or sister
are not traveling with us,
laughing with us,
growing with us,
thriving with us.

But here's the thing
that binds us.
Democracy, justice, equality and human evolution
cannot advance if some of us
are left behind.
If African-Americans are left behind.
If women are left behind.
If Native people are left behind.
If Latinos are left behind.
If immigrants are left behind.
If transgenders are left behind.
If those who are not thin are left behind.
If those who have physical challenges are left behind.
If the elders are left behind.
If the poor are left behind.

What is democracy if only the few
with access to the best thrive?
A lie.
A crippled dream.
What is democracy
if so many of us are being left behind
and only 1% is rushing forth
on the slipstream
of injustice?

You are my other self.
We are one.

I stand by you today,
fallen brother.
I stand with you today,
dark brothers and sisters
whose light is smothered
cruelly by the evil
of supremacy
the historical aberration of slavery
by the hatred of a minority
and the indifference of a majority.

I stand with you,
for without you
there is no democracy.
There is no justice.
No peace.
No human evolution.
No humanity.
There is no us.

Without you
I cannot fully be myself.

Without you
there is no love.

Inlakesh is a Mayan word that roughly translates as: “you are my other self, I am your other self. We are one.”

   Maria Mar __
June 4, 2020 New York City