My poems podcast, Words by Winter, can be found here.
Here in my neighborhood, in the wake of another shooting of a Black man, choppers circle nightly, protests happen nightly, and stores and restaurants keep their window plywood boards on standby.
Tension runs high. I scan the streets for cars and trucks with out of state plates driving erratically, zipping the wrong way down my one-way street, the way they did a year ago, when under cover of darkness men searched through our gardens for incendiaries planted earlier.
There’s plenty of racism to go around in Minnesota and there are also nationwide white supremacy groups happy to help the movement. I loved Langston Hughes’s poems as a child and I love them still. Last night I walked past a SWAT car filled with police officers at the end of my block and thought of this poem.
I, too, sing America
– Langston Hughes
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
when company comes,
but I laugh,
and eat well,
and grow strong.
I’ll be at the table
when company comes.
say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Besides, they’ll see how beautiful
and be ashamed–