Twelve Years A Slave
a two and a half hour sobbing
scream for mercy that doesn’t come
even with a happy ending, it doesn’t.
trapped in history, squeaking folding seats
pain, over and over
flirting with the line--artistic flaw
punishing us for things we didn’t do
but continue to live with.
I’m not the one still suffering.
but I am the one asking myself
what I would have done:
I know the answer.
I would have batted my fan
and gone back into the house.
in my head I speak truth and live with open hands
in my heart I just want to be okay
and that’s why I squirmed
that’s why we all squirmed
watching a history that was, and could be
again if we forget stripe-crossed backs--
answered only by stripes
stripes thank God.
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Open and Unafraid
David O. Taylor