If you are a revolutionary
Then I must be a reactionary
For if you stand for the future
I have no choice but to
Be with the past

Bring back suspender!
Bring back Mom!
Homemade ice cream
Picnics in the park
Flagpole sitting
Straw hats
Rent parties
Corn liquor
The banjo
Georgia quilts
Krazy Kat

The syncopation of
Fletcher Henderson
The Kiplingesque lines
Of James Weldon Johnson
Black Eagle
Mickey Mouse
The Bach Family
Sunday School
Even Mayor La Guardia
Who read the comics
Is more appealing than
Your version of
What Lies Ahead

In your world of
Tomorrow Humor
Will be locked up and
The key thrown away
The public address system
Will pound out headaches
All day
Everybody will wear the same
Funny caps
And the same funny jackets
Enchantment will be found
Expendable, charm, a
Love and kisses
A crime against the state
Duke Ellington will be
Ordered to write more marches
“For the people,” naturally

If you are what’s coming
I must be what’s going

Make it by steamboat
I likes to take it real slow…….

By Ishmael Reed, reprinted by permission of the poet.

Ishmael Reed

Category: Celebration of Blackness,