No Days Off

b896afb744189de6f5fb09bea8ec5a10I’m tired.

I’m like Fannie Lou Hamer,

My mama

A mama with three kids and no job tired.

I’m tired of bleeding, crying,

And sleeping with my fists balled up,

And my eyes just as tight.

But for this kinda anger,

Rising inside of me?

There are no days off.

I’m tired of sirens, tears, signs,

No shoulder support just jail support to

Go to court

Because it is s a fight to exist,

But I can’t call off

Because I ain’t got no days off.

I’m tired of paying attention.

I’m tired of fighting to be relevant to

People that don’t love me, see me, or

See me as real, relevant, valiant or available.

I’m tired of benches, jumpsuits, my name on lawsuits,

Hotel kitchenettes, bail funds, because

Don’t no body Go Fund Me or Stay close

Because they claim they

Can’t stay when they ain’t got no days off.

I’m tired of the quiet to make room for the loud.

I’m tired of pretending I’m alright

After I see my brother’s color

Whose bleeding is feeding the ground.


Dying, lost, and limping

But I can’t keep lying ‘cause I’m really

Trying to be alright, but ain’t no way to

Stop the ache, and breathe at the same time,

Because I work at nine,

I don’t get no days off.

I focus on the Cross that carries,

This legislation that varies,

Watch those that decline Movement,

Because they are scary.

I watch who records.

I watch who eye rolls.

I watch the low polls.

I watch the media who

Treated my blackness as

Disease and my voice with

Its roar as fodder and noise.

My life is not nothing.

My being is not for sale.

I take my blackness everywhere

Because there are no days off.

-Jennifer P. Harris

(c) JBHarris, 11.3.17

*-The title of this work is from State Representative Bruce Franks, Jr. from St. Louis, Missouri. At the end of a battle rap session, he had a black hoodie with a silver Superman emblem on it. On the back of the hoodie, were the words “NO DAYS OFF.” That phrase, and his passion were cemented in my creative conscious. This work is a nod to all of us, no matter the capacity, doing what is called in this social justice movement, “this work”. There is enough to do, that we don’t have time to point at whom isn’t doing something. Be a support. Love on one another. Care for one another. We all need it. Thank you, Mr. Franks. Thank you to all those that do, did and still are alive and remain. I love y’all and I love us. In the immortal words of a shero, “We lit.”

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