Sometimes, in the immediate aftermath of a brutal tragedy like Wednesday’s massacre of nine black civilians in Charleston by an avowed white supremacist, artists don’t have the luxury of waiting for the blunt force of their creativity to go through publishers, managers, or anybody else. Instead, they take to the mediums most closely available—social media. 

Derrick Weston Brown, a prolific DC-based poet who counts being the first poet-in-residence at DC’s legendary Busboys and Poets among his numerous accolades, did just that when he took to Facebook and wrote a damningly beautiful and stark treatise to the desperation felt by so many black people living under American oppression. Already, the post has hundreds of shares across various social media platforms. Check out the poem below, and see a statement from Brown after the jump: 

 

We can’t have nothing. Not our skin. Not our peace. Not our sanctuary. Can’t have nothing. Can’t shop, can’t swim, can’t…

Posted by Derrick Weston Brown on Thursday, June 18, 2015


Brown generously provided a statement to Colorlines on his work: 

“I am a black poet who will not remain silent while this nation murders Black People. I have a right to be angry” –The #BlackPoetsSpeakOut  Movement Primary Statement.

I was born in North Carolina, and raised in Charlotte, a few hours away from Charleston and a short hop skip from Shelby NC where __________ was captured.  I needed to write that piece for me mostly. I posted it because I wanted share my anger.

I have to open with this very deliberate and direct statement because in these times we have to continue to be deliberate and direct in our words and actions despite the silence from those who establish policy and enforce laws.

 I have to thank the engineers and founders of the #BlackPoetsSpeakOut  movement; Poets ; Mahoghany L. Browne,  Amanda Johnson, Jonterri Gadson, and Jericho Brown, for the call out for Black Poets to speak  and speak again.  

I wrote this piece yesterday morning , in a few short minutes because I kept asking myself the question, “What Can We Have?”  And the answer kept coming back, “Can’t have nothing”. 

Click here to learn more about Brown’s work.