Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Room of My Own: Ferguson, A Day to Remember

for Frances Henry & Carol Tator, authors of The Colour of Democracy

sirens blazing ...
Black Lives Matter
scribbled in red

the silence between
a line of white police
and rows of black protesters

I have a dream ...
a zigzagging line
of blood

Note:  Today, the New York Times published an editorial criticizing Prosecutor McCulloch, saying that he has handled the sensitive investigation in "the worst possible way." The editorial went on to say "For the black community of Ferguson, the killing of Michael Brown was the last straw in a long train of abuses that they have suffered daily at the hands of the local police. In this context, the police are justifiably seen as an alien, occupying force that is synonymous with state-sponsored abuse."

Below is my tanka sequence written for the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, USA, which was first published in A Room of My Own: The answer is blowin' in the wind on September 26.

We shall overcome someday ...

the flurry of white
between church steeples
in Ferguson
a line of police
clad in battle fatigues

the cops dart in
cleaving the crowd in two --
a black woman
yells in her husky voice
Don't be afraid! Stand your ground

Ferguson at dusk ...
his bony hands in the air
a black man
standing his ground
as police fire tear gas

Below are my tanka for Michael Brown, which were first published in PoemHunter on August 20 and August 26 respectively:

the row upon row
of armored police
in broad daylight
black teenagers chanting
We Are All Michael Brown

a baseball cap
on his gold-and-black coffin...
a silent cry
from the bloodstained ground
no justice, no peace
(in memory of Michael Brown whose funeral was held yesterday)

1 comment:

  1. "It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard."

    Those were the words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in March 1968, weeks before he was assassinated.