Born From Guilt

Editor’s note: This poem is part of our #SpreadTheWord poem of the week series, featuring work by Chicago artists based on Injustice Watch reporting, and inspired by the reports, “From prison, Rico Clark fights a murder conviction and COVID-19” and “Cops Around The Country Are Posting Racist And Violent Comments On Facebook“.  For more poetry in this series, click here.

Brooks Crudup

Laugh, don’t play

Speak, but don’t say what you know, you know nothing

Investigations that expose, influence and inform. Emailed directly to you.


One beautiful day ended with a whimper.

Freedom wailed when iron chains bound it to the ground.

Underneath rich soil, a once strong root petrified and crumbled.

Cloaked by pressure, buried by power, reinforced by fear, enforced through dread

Red, sweet apple turned sour

It only took an hour, for the growth to be stunted, for sight to be blinded, to surrender

Without asking why?

Is this how we were built?

Born from guilt?


Brooks Crudup is a writer and artist who lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with his family.