H O W A R D   U N I V E R S I T Y

Faces & Voices 5
An Anthology
of Verse and Prose

the Composition
for Honours Class,
Howard University,

E. R. B

Faces & Voices 4


Whatís Going On?
ďI Just Donít UnderstandĒ

By Tracy Hunter

Black Mothers...

Black mothers, black mothers, my lovely black mothers, May I ask you whatís going on?
Canít you see that we need you, canít live without you, as history has shown?
Your children, black mothers, are crying out to you.
Theyíre lost in this crazy world, and they donít know what to do.
You must set an example, show them right from wrong.
There is nothing more satisfying than a nurturing home.
Youíre losing your children, one by one.
Please Beware!
Iím not talking about crime, black mothers, but suicide.
Theyíre killing themselves!!
They have broken hearts, broken homes, and troubled minds.
Seeing their friends fall victim to a world not so kind.
Watching their mothers slowly destroy their bodies, which were once such glorious things.
Poisoning and slowly killing themselves with alcohol and nicotine.
I just donít understand!
Black mothers, black mothers, you still have time left, 
to rescue your children, and to save yourselves.

Black Fathers...

Black fathers, black fathers, my strong black fathers, May I ask you whatís going on?
You have, babies over here, babies over there;
Babies everywhere, none of which believe you care.
They havenít seen you in years, wondering where you are.
Mommaís afraid to tell them that daddyís behind bars.
Or worse yet, you walked out, another hit and run.
You werenít man enough to finish what you had begun.
I just donít understand!
Well, now its about time, black father, to show that you can 
stand up to your responsibilities, and be a ďReal Man.Ē 
Arenít you tired, black fathers, of people putting you down, 
calling you dead beats, Ďcause youíre not around.
I know Iím tired, because I love you.
I believe in you.
I know that you can do better, 
and I know that you know you can too.
Itís time!
Black fathers, black fathers, the black mothers need help.
They canít raise their children, your children, all by themselves.

Black Sisters...

Black sisters, black sisters, my beautiful black sisters, May I ask you whatís going on?
I canít believe my eyes, my ears, I just know itís not true.
Please tell me youíre not doing the things that you do.
Talking behind her back. 
Sleeping with her man.
Thatís your sister, sisters... 
I just donít understand!
You should love each other.
Respect one another.
You take enough crap from other people,
Lord knows you donít need it from each other.
You should want to protect your sister.
Be a friend to her.
No need to cause her pain.
No need to be jealous of her.
For there is no friendship of any kind,
that compares to the one that you and your sister can find.
I refuse to believe that this will go on forever.
I pray that soon, real soon, black sisters,
youíll get your acts together.
Black sisters, black sisters, oh what a day it will be!
I can see it now.
All my black sisters, together, in unity!

Black Brothers...

Black brothers, black brothers, my fine black brothers,
Itís your turn to tell me whatís going on.
You think youíve got it going on.
Money, girls, fancy cars.
But, youíre not your brotherís keeper.
The only reason you have those things, is youíre stealing from your own people.
Selling drugs to the kids.
Constantly getting high yourselves.
Forget about life in prison.
You have no chance for parole.
Brothers, youíre sentencing your own selves to death.
So, you say the police are killing you off, my brothers.
Well, Iím here to tell you that youíre killing each other,
my brothers.
I just donít understand!
No respect for your families.
Laying heavy hands on your wives,
(sisters might I add).
Kill a man for looking at you wrong,
no regard for human life.
Got the sisters living on promises because youíre in prison.
Oh, so, because you messed up, 
theyíre not supposed to keep on living.
Brothers, you need to prove, not only to the sisters, but to yourselves,
that there are still plenty of good men around.
Do it now, before itís too late, 
and you find yourselves in the ground.
Black brothers, black brothers, this has to come to an end.
No more dealing, and stealing, and killing.
A new life must begin.
Before itís too late of course.

Black Children...

Black children, black children, my precious black children,
Please tell me whatís going on.
Disrespecting your mothers.
Have you lost your minds?
Havenít you heard that hard heads make soft behinds?
Being mean to your siblings,
saying things you shouldnít say.
Things you may soon live to regret one day.
And let us not talk about school, and why you canít do what youíre supposed to do. 
Skipping class, getting bad grades, and cursing out the teacher too!
I just donít understand!
Our ancestors fought too long, and too hard;
many lost their lives for you.
So that you could get an education.
So that you can go to school.
Tell me why you choose to mess that up, jeopardize your future.
Black children, donít you see that you are our future leaders?
School is not a place to play around.
You can do that at home.
When you go to school, black children, behave yourselves.
And know that you are there to learn.
Black children, black children, I know the state of this world is a shame.
But you need to realize black children, 
with an education, 
the state of this world you can change.

Black People...

Black people, black people;
my lovely black people!
My strong black people!
My beautiful black people!
My fine black people!
My precious black people!
My black people!
Please, Please, tell me whatís going on.
What happened to the sacrifices that our ancestors made?
I know Dr. King and Mary Bethune
must be rolling over in their graves.
What happened to their dreams, were they all in vain?
Was it unnecessary, all their suffering and pain?
Now, there are some of us who have worked very hard, and become quite profound.
Yet still black people, more than anyone else,
we choose to keep each other down.
I just donít understand!
Say your sister is stupid,
your brother is a lost cause.
Well maybe they just need a little help.
Tell me, what have you done?
Black businesses are failing, because we donít support our own.
I donít understand, black people.
Whatís going on?
We need to wake up, black people,
and get our lives together.
Restore our love for our black sisters and brothers.
Black people, black people, its about time that we strive,
to keep the dreams of all our ancestors alive.

I ask you, What's going on?
For I donít understand why we continue to do each other 
so wrong.
I pray each day, that we all will see,
brothers and sisters weíll always be.
One great, big, family.
Depending on each other for an eternity!

© 2001 Tracy Hunter

© 2001 Howard University.
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse and Prose, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2001. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
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