the apocalypse

Devyn Springer

the apocalypse was rhodesia was israel
was the united east india company
was new zealand and australia
was jim crow and jim jones
was human chattel and slave patrols
was the bureau of indian affairs,
millionaires and billionaires.
it was the six hundred and thirty five thousand
tons of bomb and napalm dropped on korea
was the flavor-aid nine hundred and nine
people drank in the guyanese jungle
was the stripes on my ancestors backs
was the stripes on your ancestors back
the cherrytree george washington never cut down
was protests turned photo ops
was marches turned magazine covers
was burning precincts turned representation
was the gap in madonna’s teef
was the bullets in robert olsen’s gun
was the smoke and rubble left at 6221 Osage Avenue
was the wounds in Assata’s back
was enemy of the sun found sitting in
George Jackson’s cell after his murder.
the apocalypse was Marsha P. Johnson’s body
found floating in the hudson river
was canada and was germany
was the dutch was the portugese
was amerika’s grip on cuba and venezuela and
hawaii and puerto rico and guam and
iraq and haiti and indian residential schools
was the miami gusanos cheering for fidel’s death
was Tony McDade’s last breath
was Kalief Browder’s last breath
was Sandra Bland’s last breath
was Nat Turner’s last breath
was Muhlaysia Booker’s last breath
was Sankara and Lumumba’s last breaths
was Winnie and Mumia’s prison cells
was the taste of blood filling Fred Hampton’s mouth
before they dragged him into the hallways
and left him laying in a pool of blood
the apocalypse was trump
was obama and biden and hillary and bernie
was eisenhower and carter and hoover and
cleveland and washington and taft and lincoln
was diamond, lithium, oil, cobalt, coltan,
gold, tungsten, and copper in the Congo,
was june 13 1980 when gregory smith
gave Walter Rodney the walkie talkie,
was enslaved poems illegal to be written
was Harriet Powers’ quilts
was Dave the Potter’s encrypted messages
was the failure of the maji maji rebellion
was hijabs snatched and weddings bombed
was fourteen-year-old James Doxtator’s remains never found
and you reading this poem not knowing his name
was fourteen-year-old Giovanni Melton
snatched from life and the world not caring
because no body ever cares
when you’re young black gay and dead
was Human
was internment camps
was blackwater mercenaries
was mao’s last poem
was Fanon’s leukemia
was Bob Marley’s melanoma
was Gamba Adisa’s breast cancer
was Eleanor Bumpurs shotgunned
against her kitchen wall by rent marshalls
was the barracoon.
the apocalypse was already here,
it has been here, striking in plain sight,
it is not a thief in the night we must watch for
nor an impending catastrophe we must manage
but an infestation so large, so vast in sheer numbers,
so incalculable in the lives its collected
and audacious in the histories its stolen,
that we think it has yet to arrive.

 


Devyn Springer is an Atlanta-based cultural worker, community organizer, independent researcher, and an outcast who loves Outkast.