Influenced by Wallace Stevens’ poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” 1954
Among twenty armed officers,
The only moving thing
Was the falling body of the black boy.
The root and the branches
Of a family a tree In which there are
love, and legacy, and memories of lynched black boys.
The black boy is the greatest,
And the greatest endurer
Of unnecessary, historical pain.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a black boy
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of a black boys eyes
Or the beauty of his creative mind,
The black boy’s potential, sure bliss,
Or the black boy’s tendency to love.
Bars filled the long hallways
With barbaric enclosures.
The body of the black boy
Crossed it, to and fro.
His spirit, still free.
O Men of Theology
Why do you imagine golden hair?
Do you not see how the wool headed black boy
Walks around on feet
Of polished bronze around you?
I know valuable places and possessions
And complicated, intricate creations-- ways of knowing;
But I know, too,
That the black boy is involved
In what I know.
When the black boy emerged in the Western Hemisphere,
It marked the edge
of many improvements to modern society.
At the sight of black boys
Gathered under street lights,
Even the asphalt beneath their sneakers
Are blessed by their existence.
She rides around the country
In an impossible glass coach.
Each time a fear pierces her,
She mistakes her fragility, and
Insecurity, and false vulnerability
For a black boy.
The earth is spinning.
The black boy is her axis.
It was a murmuration.
It was black boys
Gathering to show
Black boy solidarity
In spite of the many obstacles.