‘ Take me to church. I’ll worship like a corpse at the beat of your gun. I’ll show you my skin and you can sharpen your sons. Offer me that silent death, Good God, he just gave you my life’
Brush my teeth in order to scrub off the scabs which hatred has left. My tongue fights vigorously with the humanity of my mouth. Canker sores forming like bullet wounds, but this time I’m the one bleeding. My own body acting as a painful reminder of my humanity. Teaching me that underneath white skin there is pink tissue filled with red blood, my brain cannot understand this.
So I wash my face, praying for an even paler complexion, hoping to blend in with their ghosts. But not too much. I comb my hair; gunpowder often seeks refuge in the thick, tangled roots of men. I practice my smile, in hopes to reduce their paranoia. Curve your lips like the smooth edge of a bullet I tell myself. I put on my church clothes.
‘I am on the battle field for my Lord’ they sing while sending smiles to welcome me. Not even their large lips can hide the honesty woven into each grin. Their dark skin serves as an efficient background for beautiful white teeth. I can tell that they didn’t have to practice that. Did not have to use bullet metaphors to teach the corners of their mouths to touch their ears. They were exposing their own humanity, as to teach me how to find mine, a lesson my tongue had failed at this morning. But I have a mission to fulfill.
Maybe I should leave.
Their black skins stand out against the backdrop of white Jesus. Against the ideas that all forms of holy sacrament are found in pallor. While I blend in so succinctly with their borrowed religion that they are unable to see the white face behind the black gun. They say ‘is that you Jesus?’
My bullets smiled as they kissed the foreheads of familiar colors. A lady, with hips even broader than the smile she had shared with me, continues to praise unaware. Her hands raised, bouncing to a beat that is no longer there. I initially thought that she was saying hands up don’t shoot, but I learned from watching all those cops on TV that that doesn’t matter. So, I kept on shooting.
I watched their corpses dance to the beat of my gun. After all, I killed the drummer. They fell like dominoes, collapsing into each other like a choreographed earthquake. And then I finally understand what my tongue had been trying to teach me earlier. I see that under black skin there is pink tissue filled with red blood. I see that they can turn blue just like I can. That their skin can bruise. I watch an American flag form, an amassment of the stars in their rigor mortis etched smiles, the backdrop of their blue lips, and lines of red blood crawling across the floor.
‘Take me to church. I’ll worship like a corpse at the beat of your gun. I’ll show you my skin and you can sharpen your sons. Offer me that silent death, Good God, he just gave you my life’