When the Shotgun Questions the Black Boy by Sonya Renee Taylor

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

Darius Simmons was by all accounts a good kid. — Black Youth Project

When the shot gun questioned the boy’s heart it asked,
“Nigga child, do you sass your mother?
Did you do your chores last night:
before bed, before being asked, before the mule
that pays the bills got home from  2nd shift?
Are you a good kid?

Where’s your daddy Darius? Did you run him off?
Did you cry too much? Eat too much?
Did you weep over your father’s footprints?
Did you hold your wilting my mother while she wept?
Did you write him in prison? Did you look for him when he left?
A good kid would have looked for him, Darius.

If you are a good kid, I won’t peel your flesh
like the skin of a plum.  I won’t drill through the oil
of your 13 year old chest  boy, if you are a good kid.
A good kid got a jump shot.  Nigga you got a jump shot?
You got cash on the light bill? Got something
on that rent this month kid? You got something
on that rent?  You ain’t got that trap dough
to buy them kicks you want?  
You ain’t got no way to help? A good kid would help.
Help but don’t hip hop. Don’t hug blocks.
Don’t get caught hugging other boys,
Don’t get caught Darius.
A good kid won’t wear his pants like our expectations.
Did you wear ‘em low Darius?

I swear I’ll stop one eighth of an inch
from you sternum if you are a good kid.  
If you don’t whistle at white women Emmit/Darius.
Don’t reach for your wallet Dialllo/Darius!
Don’t be getting married in the morning Sean/Darius!
Don’t be getting handcuffed on Subways Oscar/Darius!
Don't be looking for help late at night Renisha/Darius
Don't be playing that music all loud Jordan/Darius
Don’t be walking dark from a corner store with no bag of skittles

If you ain’t one of those bad ass niggas,
I won’t rip through your Sunday service dress shirt.
Make your mama bury you in it.
Won’t make your mama watch you drop
like a shell casings kiss. Darius,
we don’t let weeds grow ‘round here.

Performance poet, activist and transformational leader, Sonya Renee Taylor is a national and international award -winning writer and performer, published author and global change maker. She has shared her work and activism across the US, New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, Sweden, Canada and the Netherlands. She is the founder and CEO of The Body is Not An Apology, an international movement of radical self-love and body empowerment that reaches over 100,000 people weekly. Sonya has been seen, heard and read on HBO, BET, MTV, TV One, NPR, PBS, CNN, Oxygen Network, New York Magazine, MSNBC.com, Today.com, Huffington Post, Vogue Australia, Shape.com, Ms. Magazine and many more. She has shared stages with such luminaries as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Harry Belafonte, Dr. Cornell West, Amiri Baraka and numerous others. Sonya continues to perform, speak and facilitate workshops globally.  Visit her at sonya-renee.com or thebodyisnotanapology.com