The Absence of (I Can’t Breathe)

Black is the absence of colour
Yet, when they see us, they see colour
Why is something that is not, can be so much?
Why is there so much hate, when love is never enough?
Why does everyone hate black, a few times, even blacks?
More so, they say, it is the absence of.

He was the absence of; when he begged please, I can’t breathe.
He was the absence of; when so defenceless and cuffed.
He was the absence of; on bloody tarmac from his nostril, flat on his face helpless in broad daylight.
He was the absence of; when he called out, I need water, please or something.
He was the absence of; when he cried out for his mama.
He was the absence of; when two knees squeezed hard and sucked the life out of him.

This Poem was inspired by his story. May his soul rest in peace 🙏

When the full four, couldn’t resist the full force on the full floor.
When the protector becomes the murderer.
When the law becomes the perpetrator

He was the absence of; when injustice breeds resentment, frustration, and revolt.
He was the absence of; when the wolf of slavery is wrapped in sheep fur, under the guise of freedom.

Four big white bears went straight home, a sigh of achievement for a day’s work; when a good job is done badly.
The absence of one is still progress for the agenda
Heads on their pillows, they smiled
God must have loved us more; so, he made us white, he caused this divide, not us.
Black is the absence of colour, but they see colour when they see us, we are not colourless.
We will get rid of them a day at a time, all lives matter, except black.
Turn off the light and it becomes the absence of; Yet, when they see us they see colour and now I can’t breathe because he can’t breathe.

©Rahima Vandy Kargbo known as dasalonetiti Rahima

22 thoughts on “The Absence of (I Can’t Breathe)

  1. Deeply touched. Your hands are blessed gurl. You bring readers to the scene of your poems, that every emotion is felt.


  2. God bless the writer of that poem and May God almighty forgive George and May his gentle soul rest in peace 🙏


  3. I am deeply touched by this write-up. Every God fearing person is fighting against racism, continue using the pen from your Conner until the battle is won. We are proud of your dear. History we forever remember you for been part of the fight against racism.


  4. This is so touching; bringing out the truth in such simple and powerful words. Indeed they see black as devoid of color, ugly and evil. We are black people. We are beautiful, good and reserve the fundamental right to life. Please let us breath!
    This poem speaks volumes and I personally would like to see it being included in our school curriculum.


  5. This was deep and touching…u speak d heart of every black person brilliantly…continue to give us the truth….u write beautifully🙌🙌


  6. I am not much of a poem person but your writing always draws me in. This is 1 of the most beautiful poems I’ve seen. Everything about our reality as blacks in 1 simple poem – the details bluntly and empathetically captured. Indeed we’re not free until every1 of us is.


  7. Thanks for capturing it this way. I think their hate is driven by fear. They fear that we are powerful and resilient; they fear that anytime we are given chance and treated fairly, we dominate: from sport to music; from preaching to politics; from dancing to gymnastics; from discovery to innovation; etc. Wherever and whenever opportunity and the right environment is created, the black man excels.
    We are sometimes our own nemesis and allow them to manipulate us into fighting one another. Maybe our kind spirit and our divine nature to love and trust is what has made us gullible to their manipulations; maybe how divine nature to treat strangers with open arms and to treat them with respect, knowing that their is a supreme being is what has made them think they are superior.
    By nature the black man is love, for love is find in everything we do; save that the strangers we so dearly welcome into our homes have sowed cords of division. Our rhythm and dance exuberate love; our communal and support systems to care for the other is based on love. Love we must continue to give and share until they learn to love all without seeing color.


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