AmeriKKKa: Too Much to Bear

It’s too much to bear
Wish i knew of none of this
Ignorance is bliss
Unfortunately, Eric Garner’s story will not be the last I hear.
White supremacy is too exhausting
I can barely breathe
I dont ever want to be screaming “I can’t breathe” unless it’s my asthma attacking or I’m at a protest fighting for my brothers and sisters.
I’ve been marching too long
We’ve all been marching far too long
I can’t breathe and I have blisters
It’s exhausting
White supremacy
It’s too much to bear

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3 thoughts on “AmeriKKKa: Too Much to Bear”

  1. Jaleel,
    This is incredible. I’ve read it over a dozen times and yet each time it’s like I’ve never seen it before. Your poem is beautiful and holds so much emotion— I almost cried when I first read it. I don’t even have the words to explain how powerful this poem is and exactly how it made me feel. So thank you for sharing this with the world.

    In solidarity,

    1. Hi Jaleel,

      This poem truly hits home for me. Growing up in Brooklyn, I’ve never had conversations about white supremacy and police brutality. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know the term “white supremacy” existed until I came to college. Surronded by people like myself who also never raised concerns for these issues, I failed to acknowledge that these things actually exist. I’ve heard a lot about people, in particularly, black men, being shot and killed by police. In fact, one of my elementary school friends died at the hands of a cop. It’s embarrassing to admit this but I always found myself feeling sad but shrugging in the end. Why? I’ve always been told by friends in my community “People die everyday b, ain’t nothing new.” But now, as a more educated student (who is still learning), I can confidently say that it’s more than just “people dying everyday”. In this society, black lives are not valued.

      Eric Garner. Trayvon Martin. Tamir Rice. Michael Brown. Akai Gurley. Walter Scott. Sandra Bland. These are just a few lives that have been taken due to police brutality. Like you, I too feel that this is unbearable. I constantly ask myself how many lives have to be taken before people recognize that white supremacy IS real.

      Thank you for sharing this intimate poem with us, Jaleel.

  2. Hey Jaleel,

    I really love your poem and the piece of artwork you made. It is so important to write about these issues and I truly believe that the creative outlets like poetry and art are incredibly effective ways to show the pain, fear, and hopelessness that tragedy’s like the killing of Eric Garner create. Specifically, I really liked the lines: “I can barely breathe” and
    “I dont ever want to be screaming ‘I can’t breathe’ unless it’s my asthma attacking or I’m at a protest fighting for my brothers and sisters.” I like how you use the words “I can barely breathe” to describe how these events make you feel, but also linking it back to the fact that Eric Garner literally was screaming “I can’t breathe” as he was being help down by cops and was eventually strangled to death. Some things are so terrible they make you feel like you can’t breathe. It is that feeling of hopelessness that really struck me as powerful. This is truly inspiring and I hope I can similarly contribute to the art that is made about these tragedies in a productive manner.


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