Stranglehold: A Short Story

STRANGLEHOLD

I can’t breathe.

All the time.

You hate me so much.

You hate me if I laugh.

You hate me if I cry.

You hate me if I silently kneel.

You hate me if I peacefully march.

You hate me if I speak my mind.

You hate me if I don’t want to talk.

You hate me if I’m smarter than you.

You hate me if I’m not smart enough.

You hate me if I look you in the eye.

You hate me if I turn my head.

You hate me if I live in the “bad” part of town.

You hate me if I’m your neighbor.

You hate me if I’m sitting on my porch.

You hate me if I’m at the park.

You hate me if I’m in my car, on the bus, or riding the train.

You hate me if I’m walking somewhere.

You hate me if I’m rich.

You hate me if I’m poor.

You hate me if I go to college.

You hate me if I don’t like school.

You hate me if I’m your boss.

You hate me if I’m unemployed.

You hate me if I’m submissive.

You hate me if I fight.

You hate me if I win.

You hate me if I lose.

You hate me if I live.

You hate me if I die.

You hate me so much.

All the time.

I can’t breathe.


Author’s note: Since George Floyd’s murder, I have felt inept. I didn’t know what to say, what to do, or how to act. I finally decided to follow the adage of putting myself in someone else’s shoes. “Stranglehold” is the result. It is my sincere hope that this work helps with the struggle against hate, inequity, police brutality, racism, discrimination, and injustice.  


Copyright © 2020 by Scott William Foley

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this story may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews or articles.

4 thoughts on “Stranglehold: A Short Story

  1. jane thomas says:

    This sad and agonizingly factual poem should be published where millions can read it. It so beautifully expresses the ugly truth of how our country’s black citizens have to deal with in simply living day to day.

  2. Eva Thomas says:

    This poem should be seen by as many people as possible. It is moving, compelling, and outrageously true in every line.

    Jane

    On Sat, Jun 6, 2020 at 10:35 PM SCOTT WILLIAM FOLEY wrote:

    > Scott William Foley posted: ” I can’t breathe. All the time. You hate me > so much. You hate me if I laugh. You hate me if I cry. You hate me if I > silently kneel. You hate me if I peacefully march. You hate me if I speak > my mind. You hate me if I don’t want to talk. You hate ” >

  3. Connie Foley says:

    Scott, I am so emotional after reading this. Beautifully written and so true!
    Mom

  4. Ross Foley says:

    So well written, but yet so sad.

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