Get Usman’s book, STAYING RIGHT HERE: https://bit.ly/StayingRightHere
Become a Member for exclusive perks and videos: https://bit.ly/ButtonMember
Usman Hameedi, performing at IWPS 2019 in San Diego, CA.
Volunteers needed! Help choose videos for Button: https://bit.ly/ButtonCurator
Button Poetry is committed to developing a coherent and effective system of production, distribution, promotion and fundraising for spoken word and performance poetry.
We seek to showcase the power and diversity of voices in our community. By encouraging and broadcasting the best and brightest performance poets of today, we hope to broaden poetry’s audience, to expand its reach and develop a greater level of cultural appreciation for the art form.
Dear visibly uncomfortable TSA agent, Despite the Furlough of 45
in which you cared not about your pockets, You still feel the need to randomly search mine. So let me break down this current state of affairs. Before heading to the airport,
I gather all my documents, Pack appropriately, And trim excessive body hair:
on my face, under my armpits, And all around my nut sack. And it kills me when I see Chad Alhipshaladin Walk through security without even a blink. His liquids aren’t even in Ziplock bags. He just threw his shit in the suitcase, nonchalantly, And forgot to take off his shoes
before going through the metal detectors. Oh, the joys of being too pale and too male. Allah forbid, I did any of this
because as soon as I enter, ”Crrrk… Roger that. We have a Muslim on Line 1. Code Aladdin. Sandstrom in Terminal 8.
Requesting backup.” Let’s not forget the last time
we went [inaudible]. When flying while Muslims, sharp turns, sudden movements, Spins of suitcases
are what people look for. When asked to see something,
say something. Their swiveling surveillance camera eyes,
give me September morning flashbacks. I was 11. I didn’t leave my house for days. Heard that red rotting meat
was left on our mosque’s steps, Heard that brown men were shaving their beards, Heard that brown men were missing. So when I finally stepped outside
I feared that I was a pending hate crime. Ever since, my existence
has been suspicious activity. I am guilty by association.
My appearance is probable cause. My wrists are shackled
to 19 hijackers, Muslim bogeymen, Or burned by scorching my dignity
and collateral damage, All in the name of national security. The voice of Francis Scott Key in an F16
His choir charges into countries,
pushing democracy, Topples a statue of Saddam Hussein
and comes home with enough hot air To blow up floats for the ”Thanksgiving Day Parade.” Indigenous bones beneath American cities
inches taken with lust and sweat, A destiny manifest, Founding fathers chanting in unison That colored skin keeps the money green. I want to yell out in frustration,
but me, blowing up at an airport, Is first class into FBI interrogation. So I zip my mouth shut,
tuck my pride into my duffel bag And move quickly. Because I am still
an 11-year old brown boy, Peering out of this adult body, A new window, but the blinds are still down And I’m afraid that this skin writes its own warrants That my name is on a list, That my mom won’t see me at my destination. But after seeing white privilege Soften and shampoo the mistrust
out of beards It is the straw that breaks this camel’s back. I am tired of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance like an alibi, The bogeyman is in a body bag. [inaudible] off your siren So even if the Republican
next to me is scared. I bought this tickets, did everything on the website, And I’ve got the cleanest landing strip
at this airport So don’t you dare, try to stop me
from catching my fuckin’ flight. (cheers and applause)