Dollars and Sense

How much does a dollar truly cost niggas?
A dollar for every six cents we make
For every black boy who survived the war on drugs
A dollar for every slave sold an American dream
A dollar for the times I Have to pay attention
But how much does a dollar truly cost niggas?
This dollar cost me my constitutional right to laugh
This dollar cost me my choice
Cost me my mobility
This dollar made Freddie Gray
His zipcode is an area where black boys go to die
This dollar cost me my dream school
Cost my father his dream school
This dollar cost his father his land
This dollar cost his father his life
Dollar cost me my voice
It still hasn't come back yet
Spends most of its time away from me
Yelling about distribution of wealth
Cost a butterfly his wings
Pimping caterpillars as a past time
Flight patterns all fucked up
Cost me the right to my body
The other 2/5ths of me that still is considered theirs
Or cattle
Either still interchangeable
Putting Harriet Tubman on this country's symbol of ugly
On blood money
On the blood of my niggas
My language
Paid for by the bones of their Jesus
The one who don't look like me
This currency bleached the God out of me
In God we trust on the dollar
The god they serve Is the dollar
Pass around the plate in church
Collecting God
This dollar cost D.C. it's soul
It's chocolate city
Auto corrected
Into dollar signs
From south east to the south wing of the white house
This dollar cost me soufside and
Cost me most of the south
How much does a dollar cost niggas?
Whole hoods
But the same dollar that funds white hoods too
Like the Klan
A dollar cost me my freedom
The liberty and pursuit of happiness for all my niggas
Funds the three branches of government my niggas still hang from
Root of all evil
Creating our family trees
So when they ask you: cash or credit ?
Tell them this country has floated on credit for far too long
And as the great great grandniggas of slaves
We will collect what you owe
With interest.

Joy Anjelica is a junior psychology major at Morgan State University. She is a founder of Morgan's Poetry Club, one of two Youth Poetry Ambassadors for Baltimore City for 2016, and an alumni of the Baltimore City Youth Poetry Team. She has performed on numerous stages, such as the Arc Theater, the Kennedy Center, and Busboys and Poets. She is also a poetry mentor and teaching artist for Dew More Baltimore.