Six months, two weeks, six days. They let you out Black August.
Five minutes every Sunday I hear you say “Mama.”
Three visits, line up outside with others’ families.
Two hours, dominoes and uno. No hugs allowed.
One last visit, masks required. You still caught covid.
Three weeks quarantine. Unlimited phone calls. You said
Nine youth had covid nineteen. Now twenty youth in the
One gym. You became more and more anxious. “I’ll be here
Fo(u)rever, mama. They don’t care about us.” I know.
Twelve years old, jail food. Thirteen years old, State-run food.
Two home cooked meals in, “This tastes better than jail.”
One night you asked to wash faces side by side. Brush teeth.
One boy, thirteen. One mama. Sleep now, little brown boy.
Rather than getting to the root of it, they caged him.
Rather than evaluate for mental disorders
and disabilities, they suspended his dreams in
school, in space, in time. Psychiatric care for you, boy.
Two weeks suspended in a unit, white walls confine.
Burn to the face. Shot to the face. Burn unit he stayed.
BBs steel in his skin. Scars to his skin, heart unseen.
“He doesn’t pay attention, he’s a troubled boy, see.”
Third grade for you again, boy. Sit still or beware of
Suspension. The Board may not let you back in and the
Police will find you. Handcuffs on little wrists, tight and
In the police car you go, brother and you gone. Why?
You’re ten years old. Life has caged you long enough. Be free.
The call for submissions went out for DP3 around May for written and visual works from disabled BIPOC parents of disabled BIPOC youth subject to the school-to-prison pipeline, incarceration, child welfare system, foster care system, and mental health care system. Maria and I received no submissions by the June 23rd deadline so we decided to go about it ourselves because between the two of us we have more than enough content. What you gon see in this issue is writing and art by the both of us including interviews of each other, experiences of growing up and going through the system, as well as art by myself like mixed media collage from mini collage to collage on cardboard (like the image above which is the cover image) depicting disabled Black Indigenous boys in the system in the time of covid-19.
I have been invited to exhibit my zines and visual art in the exhibit The Fine Art of Self-Publishing in the Reading Room of The Antenna Gallery in New Orleans, LA opening September 11th and closing October 9th. Maria and I decided we should get the zine finished quick so it can be included in the exhibit.
We haven't yet figured out how we are going to present the zine, whether it'll be only online, for sale in print copy, or both. So stay ready, we will be coming through in the next few weeks with a new issue of Decolonizing Parenting!