semente – seed

By | 1 February 2021

She was born in favela da maré
slum of the tide
on the outskirts of rio de janeiro
alongside avenida brasil
once a meeting place
of river and ocean
home to the first nations
later to fishermen
afro descendants
houses were built upon the mangrove belly
in a time when thunder was the biggest threat
children would watch the tides dance
through rotten wood floors
as the waters ebbed and flowed
they quickly learned how things come and go
but their civil rights would take far too long
for now
all they wished was to go back outside
ball rolling on the wet gravel
bare feet over puddles
collecting mud under their nails
to bite off during thunder
i have always wondered
how many goals one has to score
between broken promises to make it in my country?
how many young boys have dreamed of a way out
if they played in the world cup?
who doesn’t love a story of glory?
the ones turning struggle into success -‘just do it!’
nothing fair about this game
the boys licking snot from their lips
never had a chance
surviving past thirty as best they can
after the waters had been drained
to make way to progress
palaphitas on the brink of collapse
gave way to cement and stone
the mangrove surrendered to the roads
storms aren’t a danger anymore
fear lives in the barrel of a gun
the crack it makes when it cuts through air
the way it only paints the pavement red
the emptiness it leaves in a mother’s chest
the official story always goes
he had drugs on him
he was carrying a gun
he ran from the police
one more shot here
one more dead there
who was counting them anyway?
one more body left in this alley
one less in a family
who was counting them anyway?
children still play soccer
still dream
within the line of reality and war zone
to kick goals for brazil
that taste like gunpowder
like revenge
like becoming a drug dealer
because you had never been given another chance
or being invisible
until you hold someone’s life in your hands
they call it war on drugs
while 500 kg of cocaine is found in a politician’s plane
while the police sells guns to drug dealers
and militias are connected to the president
every 23 minutes
a young black life is taken in brazil
killing more than the wars in iraq or syria
wars never won
like hers
Marielle Franco
born and raised in the trenches
watching criminals endorsed by the government
walk her streets like gods
deciding who gets to live
who gets to die
eu sou porque nós somos
i am because we are
she used to say
she didn’t run from them
she ran to them
hands lifted
not in submission
wrist raised in power
she touched the tower
of the untouched
her hands were ours
for an instant
the frail moment between
the finger and the trigger
the breath
the death
do jeito que suas sementes se espalharam
quando a bala atingiu sua coroa

the way
her seeds spread
when the bullet
hit her crown

In memory of Marielle Franco – a black queer politician executed in Rio de Janeiro
on 14th of March of 2018.
May her seeds flourish and may we find justice for her.

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