Black Boy Joy

Something I always found elusive

Because when I felt emotional I was offered these solutions:

Put some dirt on it, toughen up little nigga

Whole time I’m wondering why when my dad comes around this hole in my heart gets bigger

So the only “joy” I had in my youth

Was my oldest sister, that’s the truth

Because if I smiled too hard I got in trouble

I was conditioned to walk around with a frown because “the world don’t love you”

And I don’t love shit, I got it put into my skin

Ain’t no love, so I’ll put my energy into sin

But then church becomes my punishment

And the crowd that I’m running with

Has me holding weed and guns and shit

I first got arrested at 14, prison pipeline was coming quick

I had fun and acted out, my only escape

I walked funny because my back was in pain from shouldering all the weight

Of depression and loneliness, the opposite of joy

I saw kids that were happy, so I stole their toys

I saw a kid that had a father, so I pushed that boy

Got suspended and acted tough, anything but coy

Whole time inside I was dying

I kept it bottled up, I was lying

Dad was in jail, I wasn’t trying

To be like him

But I had only learned his ways

I earned those days in cuffs and cop cars

Because I yearned his praise

He didn’t see me

My mother did but she was broken

Doing drugs, then started strokin

Her brain was never the same

And my pain still remained

I lashed out at my siblings because they had to be to blame

Stealing seconds of my parents attention that they gifted us those days

When they were attentive and loving

Or what I thought love was…

now I know that gave us nothing

Because they really only loved drugs

So this black boy had no joy my nigga

So when I saw it I kind of frowned and got annoyed my nigga

My nigga

I have so many happy memories that are tainted by the truth

Of the e(in)ternal emptiness I felt as I was dying as a youth

And now as an adult, with my tie and my suit

I try my best to rebuild my heart— yo I look fly in this suit

And even that goes back to Shit I lacked as a kid

My parents didn’t teach me shit, I learned how to tie a tie from a YouTube vid…

In my 20s!

So now I wear bright colors

Distracting from my black heart

And I smile at others

To avoid the “angry black man” part

And I’m trying to play my role

And I’m trying to cleanse my soul

But I’m holding on to the pain and this goddamn toll

That I was forced to pay when I was born into an America that hates me

With two parents that cared more about crack than my dreams or who I wanted to be

It’s taxing.

So I hate the hash tag about black boy joy

Because coming up there was no joy in being a black boy

Maybe I can make it better for my son…


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