Portraits of an American Rebel

by Ryan Wilson
cw: police brutality, murder, suicide, depression

My tears look like
Kids
Bleeding out on asphalt
and in playgrounds
They are brightly colored skittles
Falling from limp hands into a scattered red rose
plucked as buds for having the audacity
to grow through the cracks in the sidewalk
They feel like bent spines and broken bodies
And sound like
Voices crying out
Pouring the last of their breathe into the demand for the right to inhale
Suddenly silenced

My fear looks like
Nonexistence
Trying to balance on a small foothold
In the midst of blackness
In the midst of whiteness
Knowing whether I’m pushed
slip
or jump
Falling had always been the plan
My fear looks like my reflection in your eyes
as you glance back over your shoulder for the third time
Your mind contain monsters
And fingers twitch towards buttons
Towards triggers
To call down your angels
to exorcise your demons that have been embodied in me

My anger looks like
A raised fist
Gripping the night
Ready to rip down the stars
So that the planets can look down and see constellations
burned into the cities that built themselves on our backs
It’s black smoke curling into fingers
Ready to strike back at the settlers who invade our communities
And a lone figure
Throat and eyes bursting with fire
With only a stone in hand
and defiance in her voice
She is prepared to stare down armies

My heart looks like
Shattered
Dehumanized bodies
Strewn throughout generations
Haphazardly pieced together
Ignoring the parts of me that lie lost and forgotten
beneath oceans and mass graves
It is bloated and swollen
Looks blue but tastes red
Like biting truths
It beats to ancestral drums
Echoing the pulse of the Cosmos
in sync with Life’s rhythm
During the day
It is my war song
In the black
It is strong
It takes in the world
And whispers of revolution