โ€œ๐ˆ ๐‚๐š๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ก๐žโ€
๐๐ž๐ฐ ๐๐จ๐ž๐ฆ ๐›๐ฒ ๐๐ซ๐จ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐จ๐ซ ๐๐ข๐ฒ๐ข ๐Ž๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐š๐ซ๐ž
(Episodic Variations on the Ripples of a Primal Scream)
ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  I
I canโ€™t breathe
ย  ย I canโ€™t breathe
ย  ย  ย I canโ€™t bre
ย  ย  ย  ย I canโ€™t
ย  ย  ย  ย  ย I canโ€™t
2020: Black Lives Matter
1965: I AM A MAN
There are countless ways
Of lynching without a rope
The casualties were fewer than we ever expected:
ย  ย  ย 10 Persons
ย  ย  ย  ย  ย &
ย  ย  ย 1,000 Negroes
For every Black in college
There are a hundred more in prison
So many centuries on,
America still has a โ€œNegro Problemโ€
My skin is my sin,
Sings Bluesman with the wailing strings,
My very life is an โ€œunderlying conditionโ€
For countless afflictions
And the Media Sage responds:
Racism is Americaโ€™s Original Sin
Violence, its inalienable companion
There is a common crime in town:
Breathing While Black (BWB)
Mr. George Floyd committed two cardinal crimes:
He was Black
He was big
Black Lives Matter
Black Life Martyrs
Asked Louis Armstrong, the Smiling Trumpetman:
What did I do to be so black and blue?
ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  II
Black Life Martyrs,
Their voices rise from their untimely graves:
Amadu Diallo, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, ย Botham Jean, Breanna Taylor, Philando Castille, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud ย Arbery, ย George Floyd. . . . .
Any Hall of Fame
For Trophies from Police hunts?
To be and not to be
To wallow in want in a sea of wealth
To shout and not be heard
To stand and not be seen
To sow and never to reap
To live all your life below the Law
To be stopped and frisked stopped and frisked stopped and frisked stopped and. . . . .
To be told countless times
To forgive and then forget
Yess Sur, Yes Maaโ€™m. . . .
Put them at ease with your Negro smile
Your low, low, bow and your high regard
That cool faรงade is your saving grace
The โ€œAngry Black Manโ€ is as good as dead
911, 911, ย 911, 911
My name is Sue,
Calling from my car in City Park
Thereโ€™s a big black male around
Whose big dark shadow is menace to my sight
Please send a cop; my life is at risk
Choke-hold, choke-hold
Stranglehold and dash and dangle
400 years of knee-on-neck
Our Police know their oath:
To serve
ย  ย &
To protect
ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  *
The Police Chief took a knee
The Sheriff followed in tow
Is this a genuine genuflection
To Kaepernickโ€™s treason
Or patronizing bribe of momentary appeasement?
And the Emperor snarls
From the bunker of his White Castle
Vowing โ€œvicious dogs and ominous weaponsโ€
Rolling in guns to โ€œdominate the streetsโ€
His unhappy nation now his โ€œbattlespaceโ€
Black Lives Matter
Black Life Martyrs
Asked Louis Armstrong, the smiling Trumpetman:
What did I do to be so black and blue?
I canโ€™t breathe
ย  ย I canโ€™t breathe
ย  ย  I canโ€™t breathe
I. . . .
Niyi Osundare is a prolific Nigerian poet, dramatist and literary critic. A champion of free speech, his art and criticism is associated with activism. His work is taught in Nigerian schools and recipient to many Nigerian and International prizes. He sends this from New Orleans.