THE SHADOWS
OF A BLANK SHEET

Themes: identity; roots; loss; conformity; black experience

by Chelsea Nwasike

THE WORDS

The heartbeat of the world

Is colorful in its majesty

Rooted firmly in its fertile soil

Your branches made to defy gravity

 

Your fro'ed leaves sway,

In the fresh breeze it welcomes

Your pigment so deep that

Some believe time began with you.

...

 

Your future’s cut short

Your roots, cut down 

Your promise land turned red

Stolen to be used.

 

From solid to a lifeless stream

You are physically broken down

All your dignity taken away

Bleached white. White washed.

 

Centuries of broken down culture

No longer with an identity

Your new form now acceptable

Because you have no voice

 

The words on your new back,

Tell of a different story

A tale of cities set on a hill, 

Where masters sold you for glory

 

Once with curves and shades,

Your edges are now made straight.

Vertical and horizontal lines box your image

Forced to conform to this new life

 

They now praise your new form

Displaying it for the world, Unashamed 

Working tirelessly to be the name 

That finally made you good

 

Though, your brother’s reality 

Turns out far worse

Your future different,

But still bleak 

 

Made to be discarded.

Use. Reuse. Abuse. 

Again.

The cycle goes

 

Promises of a new change

Lies told by many

All for power,

Money and fame

 

The heartbeat of the world

Colorful in its majesty 

Now reduced to

The shadows of a blank sheet.