Tag Archives: race

Levee

25 Nov

Johnny and his friends bent steel with their hands,
sent rocks and bottles at cars full of white

revelers on the Sunday streets of Birmingham.
A black church had been bombed, four young lives taken. 

Johnny cussed and flung his reprimand
till the law came.  Johnny ran, but a cop and shotgun

did him in, like a hurricane ripping a door out
from its jamb.  In the alley, dust, and a flow of desperation.

A small stream had risen, had breached its banks,
and there was no earthen levee that could hold him.

Three words are stuck

14 Nov

when I stand by you in the lot at the end of the night.
Oh, to be the man who need not say it right,

but the creases of my speech are neat.
     Three words could put wrinkles in the sheets,

could put some spice in the cream of wheat—
then the flavor would release;

then you’d taste my feast and want more—
but I fumble my keys; I reach for the car door

and lift.  My heart revs, as if about to race,
but three words are stuck in this parking space.

Self Portait In Pencil by Caleb Eells

Self portrait in pencil by Caleb Eells