Tuesday, November 22, 2016

On the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

"The President's been shot," he said seriously.

We heard about it; it was what we talked about.

Brains and blood and bones in an upward curve

And his body across the woman: that's what we imagined

Though we'd be proven wrong by slow motion film

Showing his body just as if we were there with him.

But we didn't stop looking; we haven't stopped yet.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Song of the South (for Emmitt Till)

So there was Ezra impounded in Pisa accused of treason and
Trading tobacco now with fellow inmates forbidden to talk to him.
Colored mostly, soldiers fighting for a country

That hardly fought for them. Taken away like Louis Till after
3:00 a.m. line-ups to be hung for murder and rape.
Not even 3 weeks in the gorilla cage could keep Ezra from

Praising Il Duce in 11 lines on a piece of toilet paper
And later writing his cantos on a table made from a packing crate
By H.H. Edwards who had they said had "gotten the charity."

Would Ezra or anyone have guessed that 10 years later
Louis Till's 14-year-old son would be brutally murdered
For the crime of whistling at a white woman in a store

In Mississippi, where a jury declared the accused innocent?
After the trial, though, they were happy to brag to a magazine
About what they had done as if they had done no wrong.

Distinguished Senators Stennis and Eastland looked, then, at
Louis' hanging and announced themselves satisfied that the
Same bad blood flowed in the veins of the son as the father.

Originally posted April 11, 2011.

(Emmitt Till would have been 75 years old today.)