UNTITLED 3

“The slave went free;
stood a brief moment in the sun;
then moved back again toward slavery.”
– W.E.B. DuBois, Black Reconstruction in America


 

You tell me to be calm
These chains are an unfamiliar feeling
Jump down, turn around
The Atlantic must’ve rocked me to sleep
When will I wake up?

You tell me to be calm
They might not see the fire in my eyes
Hear the pain in my whine
As you sell human flesh for $4.99

You tell me to be calm
As if last time I relaxed, a whip was not laid
across my back
“Back to work, boy!”
I only wanted to rest in the cool dirt.

You tell me to be calm
Be still, lower your head for this noose
Don’t you see all these fine folks come
from miles away
To see you die?

You tell me to be calm
Now smile!
Turn right, turn left, look up
Next inmate please.

You tell me to be calm
Waving that pistol around in my face, you
idea of a prescription depressant
I can’t get any lower than I already am.

You tell me to be calm
Calm as unmoving clouds overhead
I wonder, if it rained a while
would they wring themselves dry?