Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Colorful Souvenirs (One Shot Wed. #46



I’ll be in jail
Shortly
Because of my skin’s
Color.

Police are on their way
My pastor tipped me off
He was upset.

I’m waiting in a black suit
Black tie
Black shoes and socks.

Just left a gravesite
The funeral was overcast
Blackish storm clouds swirled above
Umbrellas were black
Sunglasses darker.

A young black boy was dead
Shot by another black boy
On a darkened street
In the “black” part of town.

Both boys attended my Sunday school class one summer
We bussed them in
An outreach to the less fortunate black kids.

They were smart
Funny
Liked to laugh
Cherished the bibles I gave them to carry home
To the “black” part of town.

I remember their smiles
Getting off the
Bus
And I turned and drove back
To the less “black” part of town.

After that summer
We all went back
To being …

Except they were in the “black” part of town
And I
In the less “black” part of town.

I took a trip to Ghana that autumn
Helped at a school
Brought home colorful
Souvenirs …

All the flowers at the funeral had no roots
(The ones that weren’t plastic arranged to look real)
Just clipped stems
Stuck in glass vases.

Strange
Not one whole plant
Root, stem, bloom.

The flowers were delivered
And will soon die
At the gravesite.

The police are here
I’ll be charged with arson
I burned our church bus on my way
Home.

Pastor didn’t understand.

17 comments:

Ann Grenier said...

Not only is it not enough to bus our black brothers and sisters to more affluent parts of cities, we all look away from the very effective gated communities we designate as home for the urban poor. Very effective poem, Henry.

Leslie said...

you really know how to take us from here to there with your words... powerful imagery here.

hedgewitch said...

So matter of fact, yet all the more a work of perfect balance. Words that need to be said, and thought about, and lived, as well.

Brian Miller said...

wow. excellent close...you got us going one way and spun us well...intense and harsh...just the way i like it...top notch henry

KB said...

Heavy stuff!

Natasha said...

Henry...I still have goosebumps on my arms as I type this...Wow! Your ending, totally unexpected, and took me on another trip entirely. There is rage, frustration, and I think in my heart, at least...mostly sadness. Awesome Oneshot!

Liz said...

I am speechless. And now maybe tears ... actually, this inspires me to write something, but should I? We speak of this at the dinner table often.

Claudia said...

wow henry - this was excellent! the last lines hit like a rocket and i also loved the part of the flowers with no roots

trisha said...

this was painful and vivid henry. this judgment based on "stuffs" is always painful and humilliating for human beings.

Steve E said...

Henry, this is as close to "Brian's" writings as ever I've seen. GREAT! What an ending....PERIOD.

Olivia said...

Spun very well indeed!
Excellent take on the theme and expression- absolutely perfect..

Many Hugs xox

Bluebell Books said...

you never disappoint.


check out short story slam today. hope to see your participation.

C Rose said...

Wow, Henry...this is good. I like how you emphasize "black part" throughout as it repeats we get a sense of how silly it is to keep separating ourselves in such a way, the more read the more meaningless it means to be "black, white, whatever". Fantastic One Shot ~ Rose

Matt Coughlan said...

why trees anyway?
do online forest blogs have
pictures of humans?

:D

...

when we breathe in
we are red
when we breathe out
we are blue
every kindergartener sees
we are all purple

mindlovemisery said...

Powerful piece, I was with you every moment. Wonderful!

inaweblogisback said...

This poem is very impressive. And moving. Best poem I have read in weeks, months.
Ina

sharplittlepencil said...

Henry, sad but effective POV poem. Speaks to class/racism (both one in the same, as with sexism), with good intentions overwhelmed by reality. You are an intensely interesting poet, Henry. I am going to list your blog on my "faves," since you are so versatile and I am an old activist from way back. This was a classic in my book. Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/black-history-month/

I'm Just a Man (Recording Experiment ... I can't sing)

I am in the mood to change my tree to a cubic version.