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Poem About Black Lives Matter

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Long Enough

© more by Curtiss L. Hayes

Published by Family Friend Poems December 15, 2022 with permission of the author.

I’ve been black long enough.

Long enough to know about the middle passage
Men, women, children, regardless of age
Stuffed in a ship, like animals in a cage

Long enough to know about slavery
And the white man’s feeling of mastery
Causing human beings a lifetime of misery

Long enough to know about Jim Crow
The unjust laws, instituted, blow after blow
Crushing the spirit of those they refused to know

Long enough to know about lynchings
The ‘strange fruit’ hanging from trees
After enduring a myriad of indignities

I’ve been black long enough.

Long enough to see separate but ‘un’equal classrooms
Schools with computers, others with, maybe, brooms
Leading inevitably to unequal boardrooms

Long enough to see the Civil Rights movement
Its effect on America barely a dent
Many courageous freedom fighters came and went

Long enough to see housing inequality
Driving past neighborhoods with no diversity
Wondering will we ever have inclusivity

Long enough to see the police forget
Those they are sworn to serve and protect
Instead they put a knee on their neck

I’ve been black long enough

Long enough to experience racial discrimination
I have felt it on more than one occasion
One time as a child on a family vacation

I was ten when I jumped into the motel pool
The white folks scattered; (was I made of stool?)
And glared at me as if I was the fool

Or when our family moved into a neighborhood
Only to watch signs pop up on placard and wood
‘For Sale’ signs to get the hell out of the hood

The confederate flag flew at my oldest son’s school
So what are concerned parents to do?
We dialogued a resolution until all parties were cool

I’ve been black long enough.

Hopeful or hopeless? Probably more of the latter
POTUS can’t even say the words ‘Black Lives Matter’
To some I may sound like a man full of blather

I’m not, it’s just that I’ve been black long enough
To know that enough is enough.

Penned June 4, 2020

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