• Harun Shabazz

Shipwrecked

She was a wreck of a woman washed up on the shores of iniquity, 

Her sails ripped and torn apart by the wretched winds,

Her hull laid open by the hands of evil men.

Villagers speculated as to her origin.

Some believed that she had set sail from the Ivory Coast

Ghana, Senegal, or maybe Guinea.

Others thought that perhaps as far south as Angola,

Sailing under a Spanish or Dutch flag,

Enduring the torture of the Middle Passage.

One can only imagine what ports she has seen,

And what seafaring monsters have guided her to such a tragic end—

Pirates commandeering and pillaging her dreams, 

Drunken castaways invading the bowels of her unseen.

What does a lifetime of pain do to a woman?

A lifetime of being forced to be what she is not—

The whitening of her satin black skin, 

The burning of wooly hair, 

The mutiny of ungodly affairs. 

A lifetime of being called out of her name—

Black bitch, 

Nappy headed wench, 

Colored Jezebel.

Suffering the blinding backhand of brutes—

Choked, dragged, beaten, 

Cruelty for no rhyme or reason.

A slave to strange men, in strange places,

Defiling her body to satisfying their deviant needs,

Vultures feeding on the last vestiges of her dignity.

But there are the beautiful memories of her maiden voyage,

Sailing upon the peaceful waters and brilliant horizon,

The sea could see the promise in her eyes,

Proud daughter of the Nile.

But now, just an abandoned vessel,

Buried in the sand,

Sometimes shelter for the drifters, drunks and scuttle bums, 

Sometimes the firewood to keep warm.