“Kings and Queens”

I grind my teeth
at those
brothers and sisters
who claim
we’re descended
from a race of
kings and queens
as if
the day
before
European
slavery
descended
upon us
we were all of us content
sunning
ourselves
on the savannah
decked out
in dashiki
every man and woman
free
to do
as they pleased
and running out of
shea butter
was our only
care

history’s a funny thing
like religion
like a mirror
like a song
whose words
you don’t know
so you make them up
to keep the rhythm
and the scheme

some of us were kings and queens

AND

some of us

lost

our heads to these kings

AND

some of us

cleaned the queen’s shit from out her toilet

there is no
royalty
without a host
of loyal subjects,
subjects
who can
love their yoke
or curse it
just so long
as they
pay
tribute

so

if
you wish to be
a king or queen,
here’s a check list
of what you’ll need.

1. a sword
2. a rod of iron
3. a lot of gold
4. a lot of army
5. castles or pyramids or temples

(and because castles
pyramids and temples
do not build
themselves)

6. slaves

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