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Being Woke

A poem by Brian Sankarsingh - Edited by Leandre Larouche of Trivium Writing - Cover image painted by Gabriella Gonsalves titled 'Eyes Wide Open' (Acrylic) - Daughter of Neil Gonsalves (M.Ed)


It is time

To talk about being woke

And the feelings that word evokes


Has woke become a religion

With devotees and fanatics

In which people fear voicing an opinion

Fear being a part of polemics


Tow the line or get cancelled

Double check every word you say

Lest your reputation be mangled

And your life left in disarray


Woke used to mean being aware

Of social justice and racial inequality

It meant understanding the despair

Of certain racial groups in society


Woke meant knowing the nuances

Of systemic injustices that folks face

It meant understanding biases

From an empathetic headspace

Woke was never about accusations

Nor shutting down conversations

Being inflammatory

Or burning everything to the ground


It is also time

To have a serious conversation

On the topic of racial tension


We know history’s written by victors

They show themselves in the best light

And much history was written

By people who called themselves white


Leave out what will make us look cruel

Repaint the picture to reach blamelessness

If we did anything brutal

Let us hide it on this canvas—flawless


We didn’t secede because of slaves

We did out of persecution

We beat no one to an early grave

A heavy hand showed no advantage


When they were free, we all agreed

That they should live apart from us

But that was nothing they fancied

We had to surrender once more


And now they talk reparations

Want to change the way we we talk

And if we don’t, we face cancellation

White people are now on the chopping block


But it is time

To talk about being woke

What it means to black and white folks


Using a religion as a means of controlling

Our gender, our choices, our lives

They’ve resorted to denouncing

Who we choose to be, husbands or wives


They scream murder when we talk of abortion

But capital punishment and war, they are fine

They have to qualms about selective objection

Either we choose their way or the highway


All this is done in the name of a religion

Based on love and forgiveness, originally

But this is a disgusting perversion

Filled with hate and deceptiveness


What common ground can we find

To have a discussion about white and black

It must begin with us being kind

Where each side chooses to listen, not attack


But dear reader, even with simple solutions

I find myself in a pit of despair

It’s much harder to use love than aggression

When it comes to the things that we fear.


Cover image painted by Gabriella Gonsalves titled 'Eyes Wide Open' (Acrylic)
Eyes Wide Open


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