Lorraine Currelley

Two Poems

Do White Mothers Cry?

(Dedicated to the Black mothers of murdered sons and daughters for
breathing in charcoal skin)

Do white mothers cry?
Do white mothers rejoice and panic at the birth of sons?
Do white mothers fear sons’ deaths?
Do white mothers pray with and for sons and male loved ones
before sending them out into the world?
Do white mothers give instructions to sons for navigating a society which
hates and fears them?
Do white mothers teach sons how to avoid and stay alive in the presence of snarling police officers, human hunting vigilantes and other historical known threats? 
Do white mothers see police officers as their heroes and protectors while
those with charcoal skin see terrorists?
Do white mothers teach sons how to become invisible
when walking, jogging, driving, laughing, and breathing?
Do white mothers spend their waking hours worrying if their sons and male
loved ones will return home safely, hearts pounding at every knock at the
door or ring of the doorbell?
Do white mothers’ tears stain heart and pillow?
Do white mothers’ screams grieve aching wombs?

Do white mothers’ gardens grow dead sons? 
Do white mothers’ gardens grow dead sons?

This Black woman, sister, aunt, cousin and friend wants to know, do white mothers cry?

Silence

Do not rest comfortably.
Silence grants entitlement and privilege for some and injustice for others.
Silence is complacency. Going along to get along with family, friends
and colleagues.
Silence justifies brutality and murder in protection of privilege.
Silence whispers freedom for some and chains for those wearing charcoal
skin.

Silence, an unfaithful whore, assures our safety and that we get to breathe,
while others don‘t.
Silence is laughing and condoning racial slurs, fueling fires of generational
blind justice.

Words tearing skin from bone.  I can’t breathe.

Words pressing knees to neck.  I can’t breathe.
Words jogging.   I can’t breathe.
Words bird watching.   I can’t breathe.
Words sitting at home.   I can’t breathe.
Words swimming.   I can’t breathe.
Words driving.   I can’t breathe.
Words car stopped.   I can’t breathe.
Words children selling water to go to Disneyland.   I can’t breathe.
Words a Black man strategically wearing light clothing and crossing to the opposite side of the street on evening errands when a White woman turns hearing footsteps behind her. Knowing her mood can result in his death.
Words breathing.   I can’t breathe.
Words pleading.    I can’t breathe.
Words I can’t


The poems Do White Mothers Cry? and Silence are published in DoveTales, Writing for Peace publishers for the first time. They are also part of the Studio Theater in Exile and Hudson Valley MOCA “Juneteenth, Climbing The Walls”, virtual exhibit I curated.


Lorraine Currelley poet, spoken word artist, multi genre writer, Bronx Beat Poet Laureate State of New York 2020-2022, Pearls of Wisdom storyteller, visual artist and curator. Widely anthologized and multi awards recipient. Executive Director for both Poets Network & Exchange and the Bronx Book Fair. She has curated exhibits for Mom Egg Review (VOX), Studio Theater in Exile and Hudson Valley MOCA (Climbing The Walls). Board member at Pen To Mind Books & Child Development Concepts, Inc. and Blind Beggar Press, Inc and advisor for Writing for Peace. She has a Masters in Mental Health Counseling, a Certificate in Thanatology (grief and bereavement) and a Bachelors in Psychology. She”s a mental health and anti-ageism advocate and activist. She resides in New York City. To learn more visit: https://www.pw.org/directory/writers/lorraine_currelley


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