Lori Walkington

Till When?

How you gonna be just woke enough to know you
can dismiss oppression
With your privilege
but still do it anyway?

How you gonna know it takes twice as long with
double sugar and extra honey
To get half as much,
And not extend your hand to lift as We climb?

How you gonna stay flavorless
When the world is full
Of so many spices we don’t have enough lifetimes
to taste them?

How you gonna turn to me for comfort when all
around you is suffering and

pretend you don’t know this is truth-
And that they won’t believe it either-
unless YOU say it?

How long you gonna let that cat keep your tongue so
velvety soft that you can’t speak up,
speak out,
lean in,
and use that privilege for something other than
your own gain?

How long?
I mean it.
How long, ‘friend’?

Just kidding.
I know.
I know exactly when.
Until it’s you.
Just till then.
Until it’s you.
That’s when.

Lori Walkington, Ph.D., is a professor of critical race studies and criminology at Cal State San Marcos, where she began writing and performing poetry. Having taken a leave to earn her Ph.D., where her research-centered spoken word poetry in San Diego serves as transformative social justice, this reading marks Lori’s return to the Revolutionary Poets Brigade.

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