Late


So this young brotha comes into my office the other day,
with a ticket in his hand,
$300 for being late, so I asked him
“How late were you?
and when you got there who was waitin?”
With police officers pacin the halls
cuase politicians are claiming we’re all
criminals and lateness is probable cuase
for annihilation according to the city attorney’s statements.
He’s raving about
truancy correlations with Gang affiliations
so school police are wearing watches like
prison guards stand watch and I’m watchin
another Latino brotha get hauled down the main hall
with police officers hollerin’ at him
“Walk like a human being!”
That’s what they told him.
All bound-up in handcuffs
that dip in his step is all he had left to keep his pride up,
but times up they say and the crime,
is being late.
But,
how late were you?
Were you like 5 minutes late or
“The bell just happened to ring before I got there” late?
Late like, “I don’t wanna get outta bed,” or
“The bus passed me up” late?
Late like, “I don’t wanna go to class,” or
“Class never comes for me” late.
Like like you miss the national anthem or
where’s my stolen land still waiting for reparations,
like like emancipation on juneteenth,
like Black folks drowning waiting for FEMA,
justice for Emmit Till,
or Michael Bell’s freedom.
How late were you?
See we need curriculums that are relevant,
not programed counter-intelligence.
We need mentors not cages,
a Fred Hampton, Some Brown Berets.
The type of gangstas that knew what time it was,
and started repping for Nations.
Enough is Enough.
Decriminalize my life,
starting with my arrival.
You see I might be late to class.
But I’m on time for my civil rights though.

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