I wish I had known.

When we were little black boys.

Putting posters of blue dodge vipers and red Michael Jordan Jerseys on white walls of apartment rooms that we shared throughout our childhood. Back when Pokémon cards were stolen in after school programs. Back when Mom’s smile was still bright enough to make us look forward to long summer days in willow parks. Back when tears and identity were just a walk down Euclid avenue  away from being misunderstood.

I wish I would have known then, the rubric they had set up for our lives So I could have warned you about plans to handout 60 million felonies to brown black broken men.

Brother. When we were kids you used clippers to line my hair cut, chin on chest, so straight lines could connect temples to the corners of my style at the age of ten. I asked for a part, right in the forefront of my fade, fresh to the sharp like, cuts running deep between the barber and the social expectations of our community.

Brother, they’re not going to let you get your barber license. And your dreams of giving 15 dollar cuts around the neighborhood, can only be half legitimate, because this nation sets us up then takes our rights away, and they kill dreams right away, and build jail cells by counting how many black people are born each year.

Barren, In the abortion of lives stripped away with the pen held by the judge that signed your jail sentence into completion.

There’s a man named felony.

He. the new. slavery.

I mean, He knew how to create a new more disguised form of slavery. One that keeps dark skinned locked up as if two-chains were more than just two delicate metal links around an illiterate rappers neck. Watch out for Felony.

He puts chains around necks and handcuffs around wrist and ankles.

He is a disguise for order, but only a white screen covering the history and same story of racism.

He takes dreams away that you haven’t even had the opportunity to actualize.

He paints red stripes on the back of black men, strikes your right to work, restricts your ability to vote, stops you from getting funding to go to college, and further alienates our community from an already broken employment system.

He Forces some to believe that their only hope to make it through the day is to boost the rates of recidivism. You have goals, Brother, don’t let Felony kill them.