A Whip, a Noose, and a Firehose

A fear,

So potent and tangible that it creates tidal wave after tidal wave of nausea in my stomach

An anxiety,

That lingers

Like a post nasal drip of the soul


I think of a strong black man

Being bended to will and whip

He cannot cry out, he can do nothing

That is all his own

I think of his hair, and how hot it must be in the Georgia heat

Because I know the feeling

I think of how his children must look at him

And how much he must wish they didn’t

I think of how his eyes look just like my father’s


I think of a young man hanging by his neck

On the branch of an old tree in some rural, disease of a town in Alabama

I think of how his nose looks just like mine

Of how it could’ve been me who was left to sway in the wind

The rope will creak and groan but will make me hang despite the effort

And when the wind spins me ‘round, you’ll see a word I'll never say, carved into my forehead

I think of how the people surrounding him look like my peers

Eyes as blue as the sky

I think of how this tree has never seen such suffering in its long life


I think of the blast of water

The bruises it will leave later

I think of the sensation of drowning while standing

I think of barking dogs and outraged authoritarians with mace and nightsticks

A large price for liberty

While I can do nothing but watch from a history book that will rarely tell the whole story

I remember my grandmother

And of how she drank from a colored only water fountain in her girlhood

Believing that her existence was a burden


I often think of how I think too much

Of the people that I can’t save or fight for

The fear comes from the thought that they won’t forgive me

The anxiety comes from the thought that it may happen again

And I will be left powerless to stop it


This poem is about: 
Our world



Great poem. It is a heavy topic, and as a black man, I appreciate you taking the time to write such a heavy piece. Great imagery.

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