“Have you ever”
Shandela Contreras


Have you ever skated for the culture
Not just on the downtown rinks with synthetic ice gliding next to the tree
I mean have you ever hit the wooden floor
Felt your feet move to the rhythm of the beat
What you know about the wheels ?
What you know about skating?

You think because you laced up on the move, you call yourself a skater?
You’d be surprised to see how many white southerners use to enter into the Lord’s house
praying down on their knees knowing they wouldn’t welcome a black prayer
And have you ever seen Black people’s place of worship
What God’s spirit does to the heel of their feet
When their fingers melt on the piano keys, the drums pounding on their heart like they can hear the wails of Jesus at his crucifixion, and hums of heaven’s peace
And that’s how it all started, I mean
The memories


Snoop Dog, Mr.Big Rap living Young, Wild, and Free
He can choose when to return home, make a connection with his Mama evangelist Beveraely
The Bible of Love, he called it
Like the Bible of Places ’ like the roots of skating like the World on its wheels when the
people are in shambles and the streets are parted with the stings of hatred
But its people, destined for greatness

Stuck together like multipurpose glue
Finding passion and the hands of the one who chooses to love you
When his palmar creases meet and the wheels ride with you
Loved be met by all grander expectations
When your hearts in a loop and your eyes meet in 360 circulations
By a space that raises life in every elevation


Like the turntables, the mix and the volumes turned up
When the rallies cry, we put our skates up

In the pallor of that anguish I see the only light
the fire, the murder, the looting, the chaos

To flood with peace and gladness
the groove, the plywood, resurface of the flashy lights

Earth’s sorrow, pain, and night
a spin, a dip, control, whose turn-its all ages night


Some people say its a sport like when you are swimming, you dive deep into the water and you’re touched by a breeze lighter than air, but it feels like your arms are the engine,
but it's the water that is your safety
When you lace on a pair of Riedell’s, your legs may quiver and it feels like if your legs aren’t being the pioneers, then you’re doing something wrong, but the wheels are your safety
The wheels that are so free, they roam around curving into mahogany,  moving like freedoms dreams, grooving, and working to skate to victory
Colorful themes and boomboxes draw purpose into a surface that has no end
The push forward, to push on the wheels that are relied on, rolling and soul searching to listen to the whistle that tells you to freeze and go
To persist harder and skate smarter because the marathon will always continue
685, it's not time, time of a rink closing
It's the miles Mr.Smith blew through to plant 4 wheels into the March on Washington, D.C posing
To mark his acceleration scuffs, to mark his name into a destination that was worth skating for
The mark of a black man's signature
Black women's signature
Leaving a mark, is deeper than preservation, as deep as a legacy goes
Skating as a temptation
Tempted to belong in a world, where only the wheels kept us on our feet
Owe it to the world on its wheels. We thank you