vessel…

these are not
my emotions
this anger
and fear
is older than
my years
upon this earth
it is the taste
of dried blood
and the dust
of those once
enslaved
freed by death
to wander with
whatever winds
reach into soul
to reanimate
their words
so their sorrow
and stories
can be retold
these are not
my words
so expect
no apologies
or
absolution
of social sins
the dead
cannot make
such offerings
to the living
they can only
recall the sins
you’ve lived
and
the pain
you’ve bestowed

when silence becomes betrayal…

if you do not speak
when children
are torn
from
their parents
and
caged
like animals
when will you speak
will you cry out
above
the wailings
of
thousands
of
loved ones
mourning
senseless deaths
caused
by
incompetence
if not then
when will you speak
will you denounce
the rancid words
of
traitors to this nation
and
its constitution
with
righteous indignation
and
honest condemnation
if not then
when will you speak
will you order
without delay
those
who enter
the chambers
of
freedom
screaming venomous
mantras
of hate
and
ignorance
is it then
that
you will
speak
harsh words
demanding
their departure
from
those hallowed halls
if
not then
when
will you speak
perhaps
you’ll hold your voice
until
your body
is dragged
by
those same rebels
to
a makeshift gallows
outside
the capital steps
your hands and mouth bound
and
your body wrapped
in
some confederate flag
is it then
that
you’ll scream
to be heard
above
the hideous mob
co-conspirators
that
you would not
speak of
and
to
before
now
but now
how
will you
speak
with your hands
posed
across
your chest

 

grasp straps and pull…

distant words
abhorring
overheard
intended
but
veiled in denial
then
an
all’s well smile
flutters before eyes
repeated gestures
of
oppressors
seen
more times
than
one can count
objective
to grease
success’ pole
before
anyone attempts
to
climb out
of
poverty’s pit
a pit
stared into
by
tormentors
from
its edge
gilded
with
promises
serrated sides
from which
despots
offer
encouraging words
and
relay
how they
arose
from the pit
but
they used
the
stairs

 

poison the well…

words carefully dropped
into a child’s mind to hate
contaminates life

 

indiscernible effort…

chambers echo now
words
of
national healing
and
forgiveness
spoken
by
once strident
and
incendiary
voices
but
propose that
to
the dead

 

gnarled old trees…

been
rooted
in the broken promises
of
freedom
for
over two hundred years
so
it should be of no surprise
that
we have grown
roughened
in
our views
of
the future
and
misshapen
in
our attitudes
for
hope
and
justice
in
this nation
oh
when we were young
we could
easily bend
and
not break
when
the winds
of
ignorance and hate
forced
us toward the ground
then
we would rebound
and
once again
grasp at the sky
but
now days
we refuse to bend
nor
do we have to
we have
an outside
that has grown hardened
and
an inside
having knotty memories
of
the pain
of
our lifetimes
we have
grown
and
survived
like
african mahogany