Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
keep going Trayvon don’t look back here,
nothing here for you but our stranger’s/
twisted tonight to a grief.
go on home,
this place doesn’t know how to love you.
i didn’t watch the trial.
i watched loved ones watch the trial, and i wondered: what is right action? where should i put my attention?
i focused on releasing Trayvon from being a story or statistic, and then loving Rachel, sorry to know their names in this way.
(from the moment you were made to feel afraid, there was no justice to be had for you.)
i love many children i know to be irreplaceable. if anything happened to them, if they were hurt, if they died, afraid, i know this country’s justice could never appease their ferocious spirits, or mine.
i hope that we wouldn’t have to rely on the system that set them up for death to deliver their justice.
not guilty. hmmm.
the peace we are expected to hold in these moments is some mandela coming out of prison with a smile peace, some truth and reconciliation amongst piles of skulls in rwanda peace, some continental cultural genocide-survivalist peace.
…something not matured in me yet honestly.
…something I am growing, because I suspect both justice and evolution are tied up in that sort of massive constant practiced inner peace.
…something seemingly required to be a parent in this country, which thinks so little of our children’s lives that we shoot them, accidentally and on purpose.
(it was the familiarity of assumed powerlessness that i felt when i heard you’d died, and saw your beautiful face, in that order.)
i think about all the people expressing their anger on social media and wonder, do we miss the opportunity of our collective fury as we sit alone together? or do we build a beautiful pattern for feeling too much?
(wouldn’t riots be an appropriate second line for you though? how can we sing you home while your killer picks up his weapon again?)
the riot that comes is inside our hearts, on our streets, in our words and music and art. it is keriah writ large, our torn garment of grief for centuries of sitting shiva.
(i sit still in the dark with your name on my lips. i light candles and sage and send the qualities of the four elements to your parents.)
we keep seeking something greater than our suffering to share. ‘we must love each other, and protect each other’ as assata taught us, fiercely, outside of boundaries, borders, bars, laws and the myth of safety – ‘we have nothing to lose’…
(you are long gone.
i’m tired of falling for ghosts.)
i hear coyote wailing in the distance and it sounds like grief. i wake up thinking of blood on the leaves, and bloodletting. then i feel it all over me. i slap at my body, but i know i’m defenseless.