The SOULcial Issue: Hope

Le'Deana Brown frederick hope issue phillips poetry soulcial



For as long as we been on this soil HOPE has been dangled by ropes hanging from trees.

Hope has been the noose around our necks.

I hope they call you murderer as much as they call us niggers

I hope everytime someone coughs you suddenly can’t breath

And have to take a knee to catch your breath and it takes no less

Than 8 minutes and 46 seconds to not feel like death

I hope your children play with real guns

So you can feel how we feel when our kids play with toy ones

I hope every song you listen to has violin chords throughout the instrumental

So its instrumental in bringing back the clap of the trigger that triggers tenacious ripping reels

I hope it feels so real

The pain shoots through the skin on your back

I hope the black alley cats track your every move to remind you

I hope that one day you fear us like we feared you

And in the presence of our dark hues you take flight

Duck, dodge, dip, zag and zig the echos of bullets from your own gun

I hope you run

Like your life depends on it

I hope your life depends on it

And when you run you hit tall fences traced by barbed wire like Ahmad when he jogged and I hope when you yell for the guards

And when you yell for God

And when you yell for your mother

They fall silent and feel as helpless as George Floyd’s


I hope our chants for the dead drown the cries for you alive

I hope no one sympathetizes

I hope your apologies are never accepted

I hope your color one day becomes a weapon

Who am I kidding

I hope when you eat skittles you never get to digest because they exit from a wound in your chest

I hope for policy changes

In heaven

And they make hate crimes equivalent to suicide and you have to ride the rest of your dead lives in hell with your brothers

I hope youre as scared of wearing your badge as we are afraid to wear our color

I hope Buddhism is apart of Gods Plan

And you come back as black attached to be destined to an attack by the power of a badge and the hate of your skin

I hope you’re pinned to ground

And a knee to your back as an officer feels the need to Grant you a bullet for being black

And I hope you make your departure but never make your train

I hope the city burns like California wildfires and the smog colors the sky Gray and everyone has to scream “I can’t breath”

I hope Freddie screams “how does it feel now” as he chooses to never rain dance on the clouds

I hope that before the Bell tolls for your wedding it tolls for your funeral and you never get to make a wife a widow

I hope the suns Rays Shards cut through your pigment and the dried Brooks of melanin leave your world colorless

I hope you go blind and black is the only color you get to see

I hope Sean Monterrosa is the preciding judge and he swings his hammer like a gavel decides your guilty without deliberation by a jury of your peers

I hope

Equality is hope

And hope is a fucking joke

Our murderers laugh at family gatherings

While our mothers sisters and brothers cry at funerals

The difference is

They can have a flurry

Of family gatherings

But there’s only so many kids we can bury

I know people who aren’t poets that use the word genocide to describe the times


But hope has been the nooses that kept us tied down or tied up

The crux

So fuck you and fuck hope


Sir! I’m going to need you to relax


Nah fuck that


Our hopes have only ended in more bullets and blood

That’s the only hope we’ve ever fucking gotten!


Sir! Bang!


Nooses hang.

Hope. Bangs.




-Frederick Phillips

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