I know I’m not sufficiently obscure
to please the critics-nor devious enough.
Imagery escapes me.
I cannot find those mild and gracious words
to clothe the carnage.
Blood is blood and murder’s murder.
What’s a lavender word for lynch?
Come, you pale poets, wan, refined and dreamy:
here is a black woman working out her guts
in a white man’s kitchen
for little money and no glory.
How should I tell that story?
There is a black boy, blacker still from death,
face down in the cold Korean mud.
Come on with your effervescent jive
explain to him why he ain’t alive.
Reword our specific discontent
into some plaintive melody,
a little whine, a little whimper,
not too much-and no rebellion!
God, no! Rebellion’s much too corny.
You deal with finer feelings,
very subtle-an autumn leaf
hanging from a tree-I see a body!
Reprinted by permission of Dorothy Durem….