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Material of Martyrs

I am made from the material of martyrs
hewn in the hollows of vessels whose hulls housed the most horrific horrors history has known.

Fashioned in a furnace
fueled by the fires of hatred and fear

I emerge mangled and misshapen.
The merciless hands of manufacturers attempt to molest my essence
maneuvering my body in multiple directions

Am I not man and brother? Am I not flesh and bone?

Their eye is incapable of envisioning that reality my truth is engulfed,
superimposed are their mental projections by-products of their fantasy and fancy

They cannot see
that I too
am blessed By the One,
adorned in a bold, brilliant
and beautiful brocaded dark cloth,

eerily iridescent
incandescent and majestic.

Their eyes marvel
then their envy intervenes.
Their hearts conspire jealousy,
their souls grow deficient and desperate.

Their desire is to own the economy of me. 

Incarcerate those of this ilk.
Appropriate our creations
for the expressed purposes

of commodity and control.
And they believe their victory is nigh

But what they don't know is
intricately woven into the fabrics of our robes are rebellion and resistance.

Yeah, these wears are wrought with revolution. 

Regalia ripe with the royal hues of our ancestry

Garments replete with struggle and survival

Bespoke apparel customized by

the knowledge and wisdom amplified by

shotgun shells flying through those barrels in the Audubon.

No brand names
Just black names
etched in each strand of cotton,

linen, silk, polyester, and rayon

I have on.

I wear Addie Mae Collins,

Denise McNair,
Carole Robertson,

Cynthia Wesley,

Medgar Evers and Trayvon.

I'm covered in some Martin King,

Fred Hampton,

Freddie Gray, 

Emmett Till,

Sandra Bland

I'm clad in that plaid pattern rope makes on flesh
when tied around necks
as nooses.

This is not some fashion week exclusive

This is bruises and blood,

bullets and billy clubs,

burning crosses,
ballot boxes,

brutality making us into burnt offerings at the altar.

If you look here, my man, you'll see this ain't swag.
This is sophistication
stitched through generations.

It's deep in them lines and seams

and my kind knows the reality of what every thread means.

You can't buy that

you can't try that

it's not off the rack or couture.

This is that authentic black culture.

And I've found this cut and fit is tailored to my size
ain't no other suit for me to try

nor would I want to try

and this is why I make this look so good

because I wear this with pride.

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