Black Antiques Part I

“The deaths caused by COVID-19 have reduced overall life expectancy by 1.13
years, according to the analysis by researchers at the University of Southern
California and Princeton University…The reduction in life expectancy is
estimated to be even greater among racial and ethnic minorities. Life expectancy
is estimated to fall by 2.10 years among Blacks and 3.05 years among Latinos.
The decline would be 0.68 years among Whites.”
                                                                                                                –Rob Stein/NPR News

Why can’t we all grow old?
Advance in age just as
Sunrays slug through the day

Why not all white hair in
stead of salt and pepper
Tops uplifting our crowns?

Why can’t we rule land in
our castles until we
Pass, and then pass it down? 

Why can’t we leave a leg up
you see? Not inscribed by
them, but by us, you see?

Why can’t my homies not
Trap out the bando and
Everywhere we stain?

Why can’t I make it with
my day ones? My friends who
grew with me, now take aim!

Why will others see life
in their eighties/nineties–
I’m stuck at sixty-five!

Why can’t I imagine
times with my great grandkids
not plots, tombstones or graves?

Why can’t this country turn
Down the melting pot from
boiling over with rage?

Why can’t I simply live?
How can I survive to
become a Black antique?

Lester Batiste is a savage writer in living color who writes for political, social, economical change and Black futures. Born in Chicago, he holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine, and an M.S.Ed from the University of Pennsylvania. Influenced by Gwendolyn Brooks, Carl Sandburg, and Toni Morrison, Lester strives to weave traditional forms and techniques with the vibrancy of African American experience and speech.

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