“Final” Touches on The Black Blood of Poetry

Early this morning I put the “final” touches on my title poem, “The Black Blood of Poetry.” I wasn’t going to post it, but it is timely, and I’d rather not wait until the collection is published to put this topical piece out there today and not tomorrow, because tomorrow isn’t promised. As I stated in an earlier post, “The Black Blood of Poetry” utilizes the Pantoum. For those not familiar with this form, especially poets, it is a beautiful form for an elegy. Using 1619 as a starting point, Black blood continues to be senselessly shed in the United States of America. In writing about the “gifts” Black folk gave to America, W.E.B. DuBois writes about “the gift of sweat and brawn.” I would add “blood.” As I write in the poem below, this Racial Reckoning could be America’s Racial Awakening.

The Black Blood of Poetry


His beaten and bloated corpse for the world to see.
Look what white folk did to this little Black Boy!
“No way I could describe what was in that box!”
Mamie Till Bradley said of what had been her son.

Look what white folk did to that little Black Boy,
This “’Chicago boy,’ stirring up trouble” in Ole Miss.
Mamie Till Bradley said of what had been her son,
Beaten beyond recognition, pistol-whipped with a gun.

This “’Chicago boy,’ stirring up trouble” in Ole Miss,
White Citizens’ Council of America members declare.
Beaten beyond recognition, pistol-whipped with a gun –
Lynched as an example for which white folks do stand.

White Citizens’ Council of America members declare,
Violence as a tool to keep Black folk in their place – 
Lynching as an example for which white folks do stand.
His beaten and bloated corpse for the world to see.



In the Blood Cotton Fields of Ole Miss,
Perhaps a clue to Till’s kidnapping unearthed.
The Association’s Field Secretary, disguised as a cotton picker,
Makes his way through red soil fecund with Black blood.

A clue to Till’s kidnapping unearthed in the Blood Cotton fields of Ole Miss?
The River, his penultimate resting place, his beaten and bloated body buoyed,
Floating, not wading in the water – not found in the soil fecund with Black blood.
Look what white folk did to that little Black Boy!

The River, his penultimate resting place, his beaten and bloated body buoyed,
Revealed, a Testament of white Southern violence writ large on Black bodies.
Look what white folk did to that little Black Boy!
An Apocalyptic American Nightmare, foreshadowing the fire next time.

A Testament of white Southern violence writ large on Black Bodies –
Burn, baby, burn, white folk sing as beaten Black bodies burn on bonfires of hate,
An Apocalyptic American Nightmare, foreshadowing the fire next time,
War in the Blood Cotton fields of Ole Miss.


“All of a sudden, we heard a shot. We knew what it was.”
Sergeant Medgar Wiley Evers survived World War II,
Only to die in battle on the Blood Cotton fields of Ole Miss,
Where America’s bloody Civil War waged on.

Sergeant Medgar Wiley Evers survived World War II,
Only to return to the Old Confederacy in Ole Miss,
Where America’s bloody Civil War waged on,
Where Old Confederate soldiers never die, never die, never die.

Redeployed in the Old Confederate States of America, in Ole Miss,
Field Secretary Evers makes his way through soil fecund with Black blood,
Where Old Confederate soldiers never die, never die, never die.
Old Confederate soldiers never die – they live forever, memorialized.

Field Secretary Evers makes his way through soil fecund with Black blood.
The beaches of Normandy pale in comparison to the Blood Cotton fields of Ole Miss,
Where Old Confederate soldiers never die, never die, never die.
“All of a sudden, we heard a shot. We knew what it was.”



The shot from the Enfield 1917 rifle reverberated in the Civil Rights Universe.
“All of a sudden, we heard a shot. We knew what it was.”
From the rifle of former USMC machine gunner, Byron De La Beckwith Jr,
The bullet lodged in the back of his intended Black target.

“All of a sudden, we heard a shot. We knew what it was.”
Espousing white supremacy and wearing the white sheet of Klansmen,
Beckwith fired the shot that lodged in the back of his intended Black target,
World War II vet and NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Wiley Evers.

Espousing white supremacy and wearing the white sheet of Klansmen,
The not-so-friendly-fire from the Enfield 1917 rifle found its mark,
And lodged in the back of Sergeant Evers, who survived the Invasion of Normandy – 
Fighting against fascism in the segregated U.S. Army on the Western Front.

The not-so-friendly-fire from the Enfield 1917 rifle found its mark:
The back of a World War II vet, not in Normandy, but in the Blood Cotton fields of Ole Miss.
From fighting in the segregated U.S. Army, to fighting Jim Crow in the Southern Theater.
The battle wages on, against segregation, white supremacy, and racism.



What is the price of Black Freedom? Do Black men buy it for a song?
No, it is bought with a terrible price, which takes a terrible toll:
Chain-whipped and castrated, freedom extracted from your body and soul,
While your bullet-riddled body’s unceremoniously buried in Southern soil.

Freedom is bought with a terrible price, a terrible price that takes its toll.
A cruel Southern past-time, destroying and desecrating Black bodies;
Beaten and bullet-riddled bodies unceremoniously buried in an earthen dam.
Freedom Summer: Freedom Rides; Freedom Votes; Freedom Schools; Freedom Houses.

A cruel Southern past-time: destroying and desecrating Black bodies,
Gathering around poplar trees, watching Strange Fruit swinging in the Summer breeze.
The price of Freedom Rides; Freedom Votes; Freedom Schools; Freedom Houses.
White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan terrorizing Blacks during Black Summer Nights.

Gathering around poplar trees, watching Strange Fruit swinging in the Summer breeze,
A legacy of the Southern Lost Cause, an unwillingness to concede its defeat;
So White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan terrorize Blacks during Black Summer Nights.
What is the price of Black Freedom? It is bought with a terrible price.



Malcolm X Speaks, about white devils, blond-haired, blue-eyed devils –
Their deeds are devilish, diabolical, destroying and desecrating Black bodies.
Black Nationalism on the rise; Separation, not Segregation – no equality in that!
All of this white hate is producing Black self-love, a different Black response.

The white Man’s deeds are devilish, destroying and desecrating Black bodies.
Black nonviolence’s met with unchecked white violence – water hoses and batons.
All of this white hate is producing Black self-love, a different Black response,
To being pistol-whipped, chain-whipped, and castrated, before the lynchings.

Black nonviolence’s met with unchecked white violence – water hoses and batons,
From White Citizens’ Council of America members, and terroristic Night Riders.
Pistol-whipping, chain-whipping, and castrating Black men, before the lynchings,
To keep Black folk in their “rightful” place, subordinate to these white devils!

White Citizens’ Council of America members, and terroristic white Night Riders –
Black ballots produce bullets and batons bashing Black heads from white hatemongers,
To keep Black folk in their “rightful” place, subordinate to these white devils!
Malcolm X Speaks about white devils, blond-haired, blue-eyed devils!



“You did it! It is because of you [devils!] – the men that created this white supremacy –
That this man is dead.” “The Hate that Hate Produced,” you say. “You did it!”
He was “our shining black prince…who didn’t hesitate to die because he loved us so.”
The Bullets Over Broadway, in the Audubon Ballroom – he died “because he loved us so.”

“The Hate that Hate Produced,” you say, but it is Black bodies, destroyed and desecrated,
By your hate, that burn in your bonfires of hate, that swing from Southern poplar trees.
White hands guided those Bullets Over Broadway in the Audubon Ballroom.
Thus we reject your twisted words; we will not revile him. We will honor him.

By your hands, Black bodies burn in your bonfires of hate; Black bodies swing from poplar trees.
His bullet-riddled Black body -- 21 gunshot wounds, including ten buckshot wounds.
We will not revile him. We will honor him. “In honoring him, we honor the best in ourselves.”
“Even his sharpest critics recognized his brilliance…possessing a promise…now…unrealized.”

His bullet-riddled Black body – 21 gunshot wounds, including ten buckshot wounds.
He was “our shining black prince…who didn’t hesitate to die because he loved us so.”
“Even his sharpest critics recognized his brilliance…possessing a promise…now…unrealized.”
“It is because of you – the men that created this white supremacy – that this man is dead.”



The King is dead, his Black blood spilt on a Southern Motel Balcony!
This Black Prince of Peace, dead from white violence at thirty-nine;
His autopsy reveals a heart of 60 years, from the stress of fighting Ole Jim Crow.
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” for “I’ve seen the Mountaintop.”

This Black Prince of Peace, a victim of white violence at thirty-nine.
Nonviolence begat violence: Southern hate, water hoses and police batons.
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” for “I’ve seen the Mountaintop.”
He still dreams in Technicolor, in a deeply demarcated black-and-white world.

Nonviolence begat violence: Southern hate, water hoses and police batons.
But he still had dreams, dreams of that Oneness that’s part of Christians’ creed.
He still dreams in Technicolor, in a deeply demarcated black-and-white-world.
This Native Southern Son waged a peaceful campaign across the South.

His dreams are of that Oneness that’s part of Christians’ creed –
May his Lord safekeep his soul till the Second Coming, or the fire next time.
This Native Southern Son waged a peaceful campaign across the South,
But a misguided white brother spilt the Prince of Peace’s Black Blood on a Balcony.



The Apocalyptic American Nightmare, the fire next time, is now –
Burn, baby burn! – incendiary devices are ignited throughout the country.
Dr. King is dead! Long live Dr. King! Dr. King is dead!
King’s words of nonviolence are dead, too, killed by white folks.

Burn, baby, burn – incendiary devices are ignited throughout the country.
This is what happens to the American Dream Deferred!
King’s words of nonviolence are dead, too, killed by white folks.
Ungawa! Black Power! Destroy, white folks! – the Revolution is being televised!

This is what happens to the American Dream Deferred!
From those Black Summers to the Destruction of the Black Wall Street.
Ungawa! Black Power! Destroy, white folks! – the Revolution is being televised!
“If we must die, O let us nobly die, so that our precious blood’s not shed in vain.”

From those Black Summers to the Destruction of the Black Wall Street,
America’s Racial Reckoning, the violence comes home to roost.
“If we must die, O let us nobly die, so that our precious blood’s not shed in vain.”
The Apocalyptic American Nightmare, the fire next time, is now!



White Officer Number One: “Is he still alive?”
White Officer Number Two: “He’s good and dead now.”
Black Panther, Chairman Frederick Allen Hampton, shot dead,
Dragged to the doorway, left in a pool of his own Black blood.

“He’s good and dead now,” in this law enforcement no-knock pre-dawn raid.
Two shots to the head! – “No Quarter for Wild Beasts,” the Chicago Tribune opined.
Dragged to the doorway, left in a pool of his own Black blood.
The “war on gangs,” really a “war on Black youth.”

Two shots to the head! – “No Quarter for Wild Beasts,” the Chicago Tribune opined,
Obviously referring to Big Bad Black Panthers in the urban jungle.
The “war on gangs,” really, a “war on Black youth.”
A Counter Intelligence Program to counter that Truth.

Black Panthers on the streets, a Black Revolutionary Guard;
Political education, showing up at the Polls, and free lunch for the People!
A Counter Intelligence Program to counter this Platform.
Power to the People! Black Panther, Chairman Fred Hampton.



Soledad Brother, with Blood in His Eyes, a Black Coming of Age Story, in Prison.
Racism deconstructed from behind prison walls, crucibles of social control,
The Legacy of the peculiar institution, of Slave Codes, Black Codes, and The New Jim Crow.
Hyperincarceration of Black youth, of the Black Guerrilla Family.

Racism deconstructed from behind prison walls, crucibles of social control.
The War on Crime, a War on Black Youth – greater than 1 in 4 chance going to prison.
Hyperincarceration of Black youth, of the Black Guerrilla Family.
Black bodies confined, constricted, restricted; Black bodies destroyed and desecrated.

The War on Crime, a War on Black Youth – greater than 1 in 4 chance going to prison.
In small prison cells reminiscent of the holds of slave ships,
Black bodies confined, constricted, restricted; Black bodies destroyed and desecrated.
The fight to not be counted among the countless broken Black bodies.

In small prison cells reminiscent of the holds of slave ships,
Political education politicizes common criminals to resist The New Jim Crow,
And fight to not be counted among the countless broken Black bodies.
A Black Coming of Age Story, of Solidarity and Resistance.



The first thing we do, is kill all the Black Resisters!
Comrade George is targeted. He’s part of a long line of Resisters.
He refuses to be counted among the broken men, so he resists.
He resists in the same manner of all the freedom fighters of yore.

Comrade George is targeted, because he’s part of a long line of Resisters.
He fights the Powers that be, because they can only Be if he doesn’t.
He resists in the same manner of all the freedom fighters of yore.
There’s his Manifesto, and developing the Marxist-Leninist Black Guerrilla Family.

He fights the Powers that be, because they can only Be if he doesn’t.
History manifests the white man’s machinations, the long line of Black deaths.
Thus his Manifesto, and developing the Marxist-Leninist Black Guerrilla Family.
Comrade George, shot dead in an attempted escape, one of The Martyrs paid tribute.

History manifests the white man’s machinations, the long line of Black deaths.
The first thing we do, is kill all the Black Resisters!
Comrade George, shot dead in an attempted escape, one of The Martyrs paid tribute.
The first thing we do, is kill all the Black Resisters.



Resisting arrest, a superfluous charge with almost every crime,
Is how the scales of Justice are tilted against Blacks, every time.
In inner cities, blue knights arrive on the scene armed to the teeth,
An occupying force; so much for “to serve and protect: -- no friendly cop on the beat.

The scales of Justice are tilted against Blacks, every time,
Especially in police-involved killings, rarely deemed a crime.
Blue knights are an occupying army in the ‘hoods they should serve.
Little wonder there’s excessive force, they have a license to kill.

Police-involved killings are rarely deemed a crime.
There’s a long list of “Stolen Lives,” yet it happens again, time after time.
Excessive force, a manifestation of this license to kill.
Imagine that list of Stolen lives, their names etched on a monument wall.

There’s a long list of Stolen Lives, yet it happens again, time after time.
“We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water and righteous like a mighty stream.”
Imagine that list of Stolen Lives, their names etched on a monument wall.
The Apocalyptic writing’s on the wall, the fire next time, the next time a Black man falls.



He is silenced, by death, but his voice, his dying words –
“I can’t breathe” – take on life, and reverberate across the globe.
Eight minutes and 15 seconds of televised indifference to a Black life,
Casually but cruelly snuffed out by a blue knight.

“I can’t breathe!” – his dying words – echo across the globe.
Yet some say that All Lives Matter, but not his Black life?
His casually but cruelly snuffed out by a blue knight.
And so, the fire next time, this Racial Reckoning.

Some say that All Lives Matter, but not his Black life.
His Black life really didn’t matter, not by a long shot.
And so, the fire next time, is upon us, this Racial Reckoning.
Thus old Confederate soldiers must die, their statues laid to rest.

George Floyd’s life must matter, and not have been taken in vain.
The one hundred and fifty-nine-year Civil War must end,
And old Confederate soldiers must die, their statues laid to rest.
This is America’s test, if this Racial Reckoning will be an Awakening.



In Memoriam

Emmett Louis Till
(07/25//1941 – 08/28/1955 – 14 years of age)

Medgar Evers
(07/02/1925 – 06/12/1963 – 37 of age)

James Earl Chaney
(05/30/1943 – 06/21/1964 – 21 years of age)

Malcolm X aka el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz
(05/19/1925 – 02/21/1965 – 39 years of age)

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
(01/15/1929 – 04/04/1968 – 39 years of age)

Fredrick Allen Hampton
(08/30/1948 – 12/04/1969 – 20 years of age)

George Lester Jackson
(09/23/1941 – 08/21/1971 – 29 years of age)

George Floyd
(10/14/1973 – 05/25/2020 – 46 years of age)

 

About William Eric Waters, aka Easy Waters

Award-winning poet, playwright and writer. Author of three books of poetry, "Black Shadows and Through the White Looking Glass: Remembrance of Things Past and Present"; "Sometimes Blue Knights Wear Black Hats"; "The Black Feminine Mystique," and a novel, "Streets of Rage." All four books are available on Amazon.com.
This entry was posted in Black Shadows and Through the White Looking Glass, crime, James Baldwin, Lest We Forget, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Murder, Nation of Islam, Poetry, Politics, race, raising black boys, Revolution, Sometimes Blue Knights Wear Black Hats, Sonny's Blues, Streets of Rage and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “Final” Touches on The Black Blood of Poetry

  1. isarock527 says:

    Wow. One word, BRILLIANT! That I understood. Not only a great writer, but an amazing, brilliant poet. In the literary world, there has to be some recognition and reward for something like this. All I can say, with sincerity, you have a rare and unappreciated talent. I’m sure Malcom, Martin, Baldwin and others, would have appreciated your work and be proud. You should be named among our great writers, and someday I hope you are. That was a brilliant and touching piece…

    Like

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