Cost of Living.

I saw a report on the news the other day that stated

“The average cost of raising a child born in 2013 is two hundred and forty-five thousand dollars, plus tax”

That covers them from days in diapers to donning graduation robes and degrees and don’t forget that awkward stage in middle school where everything they want they “totally need” or else they’d be losers forever , and somehow you manage to buy it because nobody wants their child lost forever…

I thought that it must be pretty expensive to be a parent until I remembered that I was black and somehow our humanity is not of equal price to other account holders.

Let me correct the news article, the average cost of a black boy’s life is relative to the price of a fully loaded pistol plus the clip,

Trade those days in diapers for food stamps and college degrees for government cheese and those awkward years in middle school you’re new gear consists of a new fear that as you hit puberty a target is being painted on your head as your hormone levels rise.

Because apparently $25.14 and bulk packaging is all we’re worth, we make good music as well as murder victims.

But you can’t respect a system that stands on the grounds of slavery, but even in those times, to them we were worth more alive than dead.

How many souls must God withdraw before we’re bankrupt? Tell me how many blank checks must these families write before their son can sign his name?

Our children and men are more than stock market statistics that white’s only invest in if its profitable, those cultural cannibals ingest our verbs and even taste our motions but are lacking when we need action or a call for a movement.

And these days white parents set aside money for tuition while black parents are praying they won’t need cash for a coffin.

Someone must have put a bounty on us for these men are hunting our heads and even if they don’t have an award for that, our fearful hearts are still trophies for them to hang on a wall.

I wonder if we’re just an unmarked box on a bucket list…

And don’t you dare say “well…we kill each other every day so why get mad when they do it”


It’s because they make a profit on the amount of toe tags they can sell in a year,

“Kill a nigger…and we’ll throw in a bonus if its a kid”

Then they sit back as the law dissolves the line between self-defense and a happy trigger finger

The courts may have banned lynching but public executions are still a thing with the world tuning in via cell phone videos uploaded to YouTube

The only real difference is the executioners just replaced their white hoods and burning crosses for gold badges and sequential sirens

America, didn’t they tell you in biology that the most dangerous thing is a black widow, keep leaving these mothers without their sons or lovers and you’ll feel the poison of a true predator.

And then I wonder…what will the price of my son’s life be?

Will I have to deposit fear in his innocent heart, to tell him withdraw whenever the boy’s in blue come.

Will he dream of becoming a doctor or will visions of nightsticks and pistol whips beat back those goals.

How do I make him believe that his soul is worth more than anything sweet from the gas station?Whether they are swishers or tea or candy, that if he buys them consider himself a threat to this bitter society.

Tell me how can I make him believe that we are no longer three-fifths of a man?

I will tell him that being black is an honor not a luxury, that his life is a price I hope he will never have to put an early payment on.That his skin holds precious metals and memories that many duplicate but never imitate. That 245,000 is just sales tax in God’s eyes, that the cost of living is never too high if you just trust the guy in the sky….

But even still there lies the fear that the cost of his death can be the price of a pistol ammo bought in bulk.

$25.14…so cheap


~J. Varina

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