Five Haikus for Malcolm X

Five Haikus for Malcolm X

Let’s talk down to earth 
No celestial problems
Ballots or bullets.

Not scared of bullets
More frightened of the ballot
But no new gun laws

New Legislation
Forty-seven angry states
To limit the vote.

American fear
Shaped like a citizen’s hand
Holding a ballot 

Tell the whole story
No Malcolm X no Martin
The yin and the yang

(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)

(Photo Credit: Library of Congress / Parris Stancell / Camilo J. Vergara)

Elegy for George Floyd

Elegy for George Floyd

Take a deep breath and sally forth
When taking three steps beyond your front door
If the breath flows predominantly through one nostril
Then take your first step with the corresponding foot
Your luck might be better 
If you believe in the old teachings

Because a human Life can be taken because of a pack of menthols 
And a counterfeit $20 bill
In god we trust still printed on its ersatz face

Is big face paper and poisonous tobacco more valuable 
Than a Human Life?
A Black Life?

Inhale, exhale 
Breath in, breath out
The whole world is watching 
Waiting 
Breathlessly
For a verdict.
How many camera angles does it take to get justice?

Breath entering our dust and we become living souls
Hong Sau, Hong Sau, Hong Sau, Hong Sau, So ‘ham
21,600 times a day 
Everyday
For 100 years
Or, until the day we die
And for every breath the heart Lub Dubs four times
How long can you effortlessly hold your breath?

8 minutes 46 seconds?
9 minutes 29 seconds?
Or until we are Genesis 7:22’ed?

Taking away what they could not give
George, You came  in like a Lion 
And went out like a lamb
To the slaughter 
Blue clad knee on a brown skinned neck
A perverse imitation of a vengeful god
Who was tired of all the rowdiness

A scapegoat baring all of our cultural sins
Lamb of god show us the sins of our world
Show us the of our world
Show us the sins of our world 
(I say beating my heart with my fist)

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH take a deep breath
Ujjāyī — the breath of victory 
A baby’s first inhalation 
Before its first scream 
Before it can even know its  mother’s face 
Breath, stamp my story onto my spine 
And let me live it until it’s end!

Mother: first Guru and first lived embodied archetypical experience
Madonna and child
Being born 
Collecting the winds of the four cardinal directions 
Into the center of my being
My navel
Let crying out to you be my last earthly act, too, 
Mother
Whether I die with steel in my hand 
Or even under the knee of cowards 

Juxtapose the children baring the weight 
Of testifying on behalf of their Elder
Too young to appear in court 
But old enough to have witnessed atrocity
Sobs
Breaths of sadness
Breaths of tears

And 46 other types of breathing that typify our human existence 
All snuffed out as 
Your breath left your dust, George.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE 
The last exhalation and the breath of leaving
George, Let your breath merge with all breaths
All breaths that have ever been sighed into the atmosphere 

Merge with hurricanes wrecking trailer parks
And Santa Anna winds feeding California fires, 
Merge with the tornado so that the world will notice your passing

Let Ọya‘s arms embrace you so that your face can be seen in the storm clouds
Your voice be heard in the thundering
And your eyes be seen in lightning flashing.

Blend with the sirocco
Zephyr
Pneuma
prāṇa with its five divisions
And the air that feeds household and sacrificial fires

Merge with Shekhinah

Blend with caressive springtime winds inciting 
The Johnny Jump Ups
Tulips
Hyacinths 
Crocus and cherry blossoms

Be the life of another 
And another
And another
A portion of you part of the first breath 
Of those newly born as you died

What is immortality if not this?

Be ¡presente! in the revolutionary voices of people crying out for justice
Who and what do they think they were trying to kill?
You would be seen see everywhere if people had hearts
Thousands of eyes
Thousands of heads arms and legs
And a spark from the light of one thousand suns.
Not other than that spark

But a blue clad knee controlled by cultural impurities saw you  as Other
Other than themselves 
Other than America
Other than one man one vote
Other than fully human
Beloved on sports fields 
And reviled on American city streets
Made menacing by your strength and size
A product of late 17th century plantation genetic engineering 
Frankenstein wasn’t the monster
He was the man who created the monster

But your promethean flame was not initially stolen
You were not a perverse imitation of life
And you weren’t a monster either
Your Flame stolen after the fact 
I take a spark of you and blow on it 
To bring a little light into this darkened world.

(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)

(Image Credit: Saatchi Art / Miguel Amortegui)

Swirl: For Women’s History Month

Swirl: For Women’s  History Month

Princess Café au Lait Barbie and Prince Ginger Ken couldn’t do what we have done
United two families 
The day we were married and our hands met
We were Black and White touching
All these years together
And I have never written you a poem

Too busy loving — I guess — to write about it

But as I watch Meghan and Harry walk the tight wire between 
despair and disillusionment
I marvel at what we have done with the love that we have brought into this world
Revolutionary hearts beating revolutionary rhythms
And our breath exhaling revolutionary words
Revelatory hearts surviving the “for better and for worse’
Inhaling inspiration from the events of the day
And our own lives

As fearless as veteran warriors
And as ardent as midwives bringing new life into this world
We are not a prince and a princess
We are a King and a Queen

Think new thoughts by not eating the foods of childhood
From food you get mind
Both our families amazed because we make our pancakes from a mixture of five flours
Adding both cinnamon and ginger powder to the batter
The alchemy of mixing foods 
And of mixing peoples
Let your table be an altar and all foods be sacramental 
Because if you know how to mix
The outcome is always astonishing

We cooked mountains of vegetables from a Wisconsin garden  
And used more onion and garlic then either of our families had ever eaten at one time
Food cooked in houses that didn’t know 
The smell of clarified butter dancing with cumin and coriander
Brown and gold touching 
We watched our food disappear 

Everyone always asks for the recipes
But the alchemy of mixing is hard to learn 
And requires both artistry and skill

You have to cook the way you live
But Meghan and Harry didn’t cook their own food
And they planned for the wedding day but not for the marriage

Start the day with conversations and endless cups of chai
The only ritual we do daily, regularly, and sincerely 
Fresh ginger, peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom, mint and black tea
Everyone always asks for the recipe
But the alchemy of mixing is hard to learn 
And requires both artistry and skill

Smash the cake into my face at the wedding party
Or, the women in my family will think you weak
You took me at my word 
Your Lucille Ball to my Desi Arnaz
Devils food cake covering my face as my Mothers laughed 
Punctuating their guffaws with
“Oh no she didn’t!”

They called you “Teena Marie” when you pierced your nose 
To commemorate your mother’s death
And my sister called you sister
Our revelatory hearts — again — surviving the better and worse

Maybe Meghan should have smashed cake into Harry’s face
You have to make space for yourself 
If you want to live unconventionally

So Swirl
Swirl down through the Middle Passage
And slavery
Swirl through “HAVE ME MANDINGO!”
Reconstruction
Through Birth of a Nation and the Klan
Swirl through JIm Crow
The Civil Rights Movement
And marches on Washington
Swirl through Blaxploitation Movies 
Through Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman
Through Baps, Bohos, and Buppies
Swirl through  Obama 
and through Kamala
Swirl through Black Lives Matter
Swirl through the Zoom age replacing words on the printed page

Marriage IS a political statement

Swirl Helen Pitts and Fredrick Douglas;
Jessie Walmisley and  Samuel Coleridge-Taylor;
Etta Terry Duryea and Jack Johnson 

Swirl Louisa Matthews and Louis George Gregory;
Josephine Baker and Jean Lion;
Ruth Williams and Seretse Khama 
You were Meghan and Harry before Meghan and Harry 
Were a gleam in their parents eyes

Swirl Pearl Bailey and Louie Bellson;
Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving — and thank you;

Swirl Grace Lee Boggs and and James Boggs;
Swirl Billy Porter and Adam Smith;
Swirl George Takei and Brad Altman Takei;

Swirl for the Wakandas that have already been and are yet to come
Love in Black and White
Love in Lavender
Rainbow Love
Black Love
Brown Love
And all The  loves that now dare to speak their names

This is for Hettie Cohen and her husband Leroi Jones before he became Amiri Baraka 
For Lena Horne and Lennie Hayton
Diana Ross, Robert Ellis Silberstein, and Arne Næess: 
Two scoops for Miss Ross!

And all of the other swirl couples too numerous to mention
Which is the point.

Walk seven times around the sacred fire with me and make a promise with each circumambulation
For earth, water, fire, air and space.
For self-actualization 
and for transcendence

Wed on the day winter becomes spring 
On a Venus’ day
And at the hour of the unconquerable
Our friends asked what the attire would be 
And we said:
Come as you will be for the rest of our lives 
And the lifetimes to come
Everyone always asks for the recipe
But the alchemy of mixing is hard to learn 
And requires both artistry and skill

Keep thinking:
It can be stopped at the boarder
Or with gated communities
It can be lynched out of existence
It can be gerrymandered
Or put into interment camps 
Or stifled by anti-miscegenation laws 
With 7 states still requiring racial disclosures on marriage certificates 

No one is coming to get you
We are you!

Red hair and creamy skin are genetically recessive 
Which is why they asked how dark the children would be
Meghan and Harry — a reversed living Bridgerton
AND HE BURNS FOR HER!

That the answers to our questions and concerns lie on a the path less traveled 
Is — perhaps — the greatest fear of people who think 
That salt, black pepper, and sugar 
Are the only spices there are.

 

By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry

(Image Credit: Sol Lewitt: “Swirl Platter”)

Magical Brown Bags that Never Emptied

Magical Brown Bags that Never Emptied

Let me sing to you about magical, brown, road lunch bags that never seemed to empty.

Of James Brown silencing the riots in the streets
Of an attorney general who actually reconsidered his initial strident positions

Of AM radio
And Black radio stations nationwide 
Always found at the very top and bottom of the car radio dial

Of Nina Simone singing songs I wouldn’t understand until right now

Of a time when Kentucky fried chicken was one of the only restaurants that would serve everybody on the road
And they were only found in the South
(although the Colonel definitely stole the recipe) 

Of a time when there were only two McDonald locations in our area

And families went to Drive in movie theaters 
Sometimes hiding the little ones in the back under blankets.

We found ways to live and love through anything and everything

I wanted to write a love poem today

About when we — my sister and I — were little 
And we had to travel down South 
By car 
By train
Or, by The Greyhound Bus 
as Southern people use to say

We always made special “Trip Food”.

Grandma used to make us huge bag lunches. 
You don’t need a Green Book when you’ve got a bag lunch
She always packed them in huge brown paper grocery store bags
And this is where “saving the paper bags” comes from

Black people have always recycled

Before a big trip, Grandma would fry several chickens and put them into doubled brown paper bags
Along with loaves of gummy Wonder Bread in wax paper

Mom always liked the wings

My little sister would go crazy if she didn’t get the drumstick
But this was cured when it was discovered — quite by accident
That she was a huge fan of the sliced ham and cheese sandwiches
Neatly wrapped in wax paper bags
And suddenly, I could eat as many drumsticks as I wanted

People ask me why I don’t write other types of poems
Poems about ecstasy 
Or transcendence
Or peace

But that is all I write about

The ecstasy of naming daemons 
The transcendence of crystallizing my thoughts
And the peace that allows me to stare at the face of Gorgans again and again
Without turning into stone

I can write love poems, too

This is a love poem to Sonia Sanchez who asked me to find my fire and send it into the future

To Nina Simone singing God, God, God, with Nubian passion

To Gil Scott Heron who said we’ve got to do something to save the children
This is a love song to my and my sister’s yester-selves
I say that 
The inner child can never be healed 
But only hugged
And this is the best I can do

To big Southern women who urged us to “Stay together children“
And the laundry dancers in galvanized steel tubs 
Who always made sure that we were clean.

This is a love poem
As they all are.

But most importantly this is a poem dedicated to greasy brown paper bags 
with huge oily spots in them 
that always seemed full 
And everything that they symbolized

The comfortable freedom of bounty in an uncomfortable world

This is to the generations to come. 
You won’t have to eat lunches out of brown bags
But you can still learn from this love song

(Photo Credit: N. Jay Jaffee, “Strange Fruit” / The Smithsonian American Art Museum)

Hot and Spicy Extra Crispy

Hot and Spicy Extra Crispy

This is how the world ends
Not with a whisper but with a bang!

Of a gavel on the Supreme Court 
Or in a grand jury judgement for the killers of 
Breonna Taylor

With gas Guns in state designated Anarchy zones
BAM!
Were Americans protest peacefully — and otherwise for justice
BAM!
With the slamming of the doors of 
Bed Bath and Beyond
BAM!
Because apparently even e-commerce can’t  support
Brick and mortar capitalism during a plague
BAM!
With apologies to Emeril Legasse
The world is suddenly getting too hot and spicy
And the fires are making everything extra crispy.

Amy Coney Barrett,
What Black Clad Aunt 
Her moment come at last 
Slouches towards the Supreme Court bench
Moving us closer to Gilead.

(Image Credit: ABC News)

Dedicated to Imperfect Heroes Because the Villains Aren’t Perfect Either

Dedicated to Imperfect Heroes Because the Villains Aren’t Perfect Either

The paradox is that we have to use imperfect tools to perfect an imperfect world

I don’t mind imperfect heroes; because the villains aren’t perfect either

It’s all a work in progress as we progress

And maybe that is what is perfect

Teach me, preach me
Just so you can leech me
Dis’ me, stress me
Now you want to test me

Chain me, cane me
Belittle and defame me
Sick me, cure me
Socially endure me

All he tried to tell us is
THEY DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT US!

Imperfect heroes and imperfect villains
Imperfect justice
extrajudicial killings
Get your hands dirty and roll up your sleeves

Imperfect drugs are making perfect junkies
On my back a family of monkeys
Pandemic has us all down on our knees

If Michael Jackson were livin’
He wouldn’t believe
shite Trumps not giving

Shoot me; tase me
Boy, you just amaze me
Fool me; school me
Choke me ‘til I drool, me

Slap me; zap me
better double tap me
Jail me; bail me
Michael tried to tell me

All he tried to tell us is
THEY DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT US!

Lies and deceptions
Not misconceptions
Selling missiles while we defund the schooling
When a mantis prays it’s not piety

There are no bootstraps, and there are no boots
Food lines longer; don’t ask just shoot
No safety net for our society

If Gil were stil among us
He’d write a song for peace and justice

Thunder lightning
Give me COVID-19
Rain me hail me
Brother can you tell me

Spurn me burn me
Now we’re finally learning
Zone-less homeless
Boy they really owned us

All he tried to tell us is
THEY DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT US!

What did he know; and, when did he know it?
If you are angry then burn, vote, and show it!
This system ain’t gonna change itself.

My heroes dead; my enemies are rulin’
This country needs a drastic retooling
I have two fist and only just one heart

If Prince were still embodied
He’d purple hex this Orange John Gotti

Climate crisis; blame it all on Isis
Gangster, Prankster
Legalize The Dank, Sir

Burning forest
Is there still hope for us
Sap glove; bullet
Got a trigger; pull it

All he tried to tell us is
All he tried to tell us is
All he tried to tell us is
All he tried to tell us is
All he tried to tell us is
THEY DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT US!

(Image Credit: Rewire / Annette Bernhardt)

This is Real America: for Jacob Blake and Everybody Else, Too

Julia Jackson, Jacob Blake’s mother

This is Real America: for Jacob Blake and Everybody Else, Too

This is real America.

When they kill us in the streets we march and burn and get arrested.
I guess they want us to act like Georgians
And meekly go to the grave without complaint.

Or wait like Floridian teachers for a judge to agree with them that
The same children who give each other 
colds
pink eye
head lice
ringworm
And the traditional herd diseases
Will just as easily spread COVID-19
Without a concrete plan.

The answer must be given in the form of a question:
What are diseases caused by human proximity?

We are using our children as lab rats to see what happens
When they cluster together five times a week
And then go home to Ma and Pa 
And Nana and Big Papa

What happens when you push that button?
And which company’s “bug juice” will work first and best?

I had a friend ask me how I was doing during these times
You know as a Black person
And I said:

You mean during this time of political upheaval
During a pandemic
In the face of denial as the American bodies pile up (for various reasons)
And ubiquitous cameras capture the savagery of American life

You mean during a time when
context is still needed because the camera 
And the piles of bodies 
Can lie
And not give the whole story

You mean at a time when America is fighting for its soul
During a presidential election year 
With hearings going on about blatant voter suppression 
Through a manipulated Post Office
And the closing of poling locations in “certain communities”

You mean when leather clad bike hoards cause a super-spreader event
In America’s heartland 
‘Cause ya know we all love a good party 
Especially one straight out of a Stephen King novel
Or a George Romero Zombie Apocalypse movie

You mean at a time when college students have been told they were invincible
And they believe it
So they party like it’s 1999
And everyone goes home sick

It’s only a flesh wound
Rub it
You’ll be alright

Like the Martians of an H.G. Wells story 
All of our technological terror 
Is being humbled by the smallest of things 
The infinite humiliated by the infinitesimal 

A family in Wisconsin clusters together and prays for peace
Prayers from two religious traditions
And asks the question 
Why is my son’s spine shattered 
And why was he shot seven times 
At
Point
Blank
Range

An emasculating extrajudicial judgement in front of his three sons 
They say it will take a miracle for Jacob Blake to ever walk again
Repeating over and over again
This is real America 
How dare we hate what we are, his mother says

You mean at this time when things are so obviously bad that 
It causes you to pause and to offer an earnest existential inquiry?

Oh I’m just fine, I said.
And you’re fine, too.

Crossing

Crossing

Rose Petals on a bridge.

Where is the voice of “our” President?

Watching “the last crossing”

With 21st century technology 

Under conditions similar to a medieval pandemic

In death John Lewis is still crossing the Edmond Pettus Bridge 

And so must we all.

(Photo Credit 1: Al.com) (Photo Credit 2: WLRN)

Save the Bleach: Yudhiṣṭhira’s Insight

Save the Bleach: Yudhiṣṭhira’s Insight

“You don’t need to be in no hurry
You ain’t never really got to worry.
You don’t need to check on how you feel
Just keep repeating:“None of this is real.“

And if you’re sensing there’s something wrong
Well just remember It won’t be too long 
Before the Director cuts the scene

This ain’t really your life 
ain’t  really your life
ain’t  really your life…”

— Gil Scott Heron —


The New Age is an Old Lie

Old Colonial strategies neither die nor fade away
They are just rebranded and sent into virtually reality
And sold online to people too young 
To remember snake oil salesmen.

Or, broadcast out over Zoom 
To create 
Family of choice simulacra 
Resembling the opening of The Brady Bunch
A celebrated family 
That didn’t actually really exists either.

This Neo-Divide and conquer

If America becomes a Towering Inferno 
Don’t you realize That there are no ladders long enough to reach you 
On the 108th floor.
To save you from the burning 
If the lower floors are alight.

Will you sit in a circle and sing Kum ba yah?
(‘cause that’s not your song either)
Or perhaps chant the lyrics from Maureen McGovern disaster movie songs 
And hope it extinguishes the flames?

There’s Got to be A Morning After
And We Will Never Love this Way Again
But will we be here to love 
When the sun rises on America tomorrow?

The Ku Klux Klan no longer wears sheets 
1000 thread count Egyptian cotton is just too expensive
And it so much easier to just run for office.

Or cluster at seminars that teach the art of Hap-why-ness
Selling crystals 
Yoni eggs 
And exorbitantly priced aroma therapy bath salts 
To wash the stress away 

Take me away Calgon bath oil beads no longer strong enough 
To wash away the day
Something stronger is now needed
As America convulses.

“Stand as far away from me as you can and ask me why
Hold on to your mālā beads 
Close your eyes And watch me die”.

If you’re not angry 
Then you’re just not paying attention.

As “Mind-less-ness Meditation“ exhorts us to  
Watch our breath
And become comfortable in our seats
Presumably so that our meat won’t be too tough
When they slaughter us 
Just before they make us into Soylent Green

Or send us out into the world prematurely like cannon fodder 
To see if COVID-19 
Is really as deadly as they think it is

As they KNOW it is.
New opiates for a New Age
Being “spiritual” does not mean being clueless
In the tradition of:
Dayānanda Sarasvāti,Ram Mohan Roy
Mohandas K. Gandhi, 
Srī Aurobindo, 
Srī Yukteswar [in his younger days]; 
Arundati Roy
Malcom X,
Rosa Parks 
Fannie Lou Hamer
Martin Luther [Mike] King Jr.
Nelson Mandela; 
Alice Walker; 
Ruth [Ruthie] Wilson Gilmore; 
Angela Y. Davis
and Barak Hussein Obama

To name ONE — as a Vedāntan would say.

Great ONES who knew how to work through their relative selves 
To help To change 
Our ONE world.

The face of yoga is that of a Dravidian sage.

Save the bleach for COVID-19
But don’t use it to denature the Ideas and Ideals of Brown skinned people
For memes
Twitter and Facebook quotes
Or monuments designed to rewrite history.

Embodied ideas are more confrontational and problematic to consider
Then New Age tapioca and flavorless tofu teachings

If that wasn’t true
Barak Obama’s presidential portrait would be unveiled 
And Harriet Tubman would be on the $20 dollar bill.

But instead of celebrating the Queen of Freedom 
And the Underground Railroad
We build fences around 
And fortify a statue of 
The President who drove the Trail of Tears.

“We think of faith as a source of comfort and understanding 
But find our expressions of faith sowing division
We believe ourselves to be a tolerant people
Even as racial, religious, and cultural tensions roil the landscape
And instead of resolving these tensions or mediating these conflicts
Our politics fans them
Exploits them
And drives us further apart.”

Now who said that?

I think we may have forgotten in these past four years
That have felt like a century.
He famously carried a token of Hanumān with him 
Where ever he went
And lifted the mountain of healing herbs on his Demi-Nubian shoulders 
And for eight years 
The fragrance of HOPE
Filled our nostrils.

It started as a whisper in Springfield Illinois
And now we are shouting in the streets again
And hope again seems audacious.

Because of social distancing 
And sheltering in place
The night sky is becoming visible again in India
The Himalayan Mountains are visible  in the distance
Even from cities whose air was once gray with pollution.
Wild animals are encroaching upon urban environments 

Are we the HOPE or the PROBLEM?

Is there a Goop product that cures stupidity?
And if there is, where would you rub it?
If I rub it on a Confederate Statue will it Melt away and disappear?

Is there a Goop repellant we could spray on the White House
To keep Trump away from it?
We could call that fragrance “Melania’s Hand Slap”Because it works for her.

Yudhiṣṭhira knew the truth:
If they ever open a gate for you
And invite you in saying:

“This is heaven;
But, you just can’t bring your dog.”

It’s a trap!
Be steady in war
Know that place to be hell
And walk on.

The God of Small Things would let you into heaven
Especially with your dog.

Will America have a breakdown 
Before it has a breakthrough?

Oh God of Small Things!
Convey me into a heaven where 
Even my family and my dog is welcome
Grant Us Wholeness.

(Photo Credit: Margaret Barthel/ DCist/ WAMU) (Video: YouTube)

Episode XIV: Tonight You Have Your Answer/The Specter of Barak Obama

Episode XIV: Tonight You Have Your Answer/The Specter of Barak Obama

It is a time of purges and pandemic

There is record unemployment and long lines form at food banks 
Farmers dump milk, food grains and slaughter animals 
Unable to find markets for their produce.

The quarantine has brought the consumer market to a standstill.

Elements of the previous administration are being swept away in 
Friday Night Firings,

While untested medicines are being used to treat COVID-19
America pulls funding from the World Health Organization
And muzzles the Center for Disease Control.

All 50 states have reopened 
Without meeting the minimum requirements for enng the quarantine safely.
Florida and Georgia falsify their data for political expediency
Sending frontline workers into the line of fire
In the American Hot Zone.

A telephone conference is held by a former two term President with 3000 of his loyal staffers still in a position to fight. 

As his successor Dolt 45 does everything in his power to erase the legacy of his triumphs

Including a failure to unveil 44’s official Nubian Presidential portrait.

Oh, why can’t you quit him, Orange Man.

The broken hearted burn Cities in America’s Heartland
Another Black Man strangled by a Thin Blue Line,
Sparking empathetic riots in other major American Cities

And I will give my Nephews “The Talk”.

It is almost the same talk that was given to me 

But served with extra side dishes of 
Plague, tear gas, and flash bangs

Tales of “Officer Not So Friendly”
And the American Injustice system 
They will face if they are ever stopped or arrested.

Boys I say, we are definitely not living in a post racial America.
And the masks you are wearing may protect you from the plague
But not the tear gas.

At first they don’t believe me
My words clashing with the Specter of Barak Obama
Their most vivid memories of a president 
Who looked like them.

Eight Years of Barak Obama and his beautiful sleeveless Queen.
As they came to consciousness 
And came of age.

Then they watch a Black CNN reporter arrested and taken into custody
As his White counterpart remains unmolested.

And they think that perhaps
Their crazy Uncle may have a point or two.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things once possible can be erased,

Who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive;
but, unwell in our time,
Sickened by all of our contradictions.

Who still questions the power of old hatreds to subvert our 
New Democratic experiment

Tonight you have your answer.

(Image Credit: Dolly Li / Oxford American)