I heard somebody say,
that the world has turned upside down.
I thought, “No, the world is flipping back right-side up.”
Which hope for I cannot clearly say
But I feel it in
the people in the streets,
signs flashing on every TV…
This sounds better than the way the world was.
Things that you put in water that flip back up
Right themselves and float face up – I mean like that —
Only the flip coming from many forces
Nobody now is too busy to pay attention
To the powerful media
from personal phone shots
to reporters in the streets —
Well-organized youth gatherings
We have time to feel a sensibility that
Turns us right side up, even if momentarily.
I feel it in me
A return to caring about doing justice
And loving mercy
My young roots put down in protest
Against the Military Industrial Establishment
The masters of war, as Dylan called them.
My soul is coming up for air.
People dying, the poor the most tragic
Blacks hurt disproportionately by the pandemic
Reveals – for anyone who wants to see — much of what is broken
Lifts the curtain on fat cats in D.C. and on Wall Street
Who mostly care about profit, wealth — they’re insulated
We white people live on prosperity,
We have time to see.
Video of a black man murdered
Slowly, second by second, into minutes
Killed over a 20-dollar bill
Horror turns us to what we’ve ignored
The injustices to black people
Racism that has not been removed
Forgetting the violence
of the fight for civil rights,
Racism not removed
Not since slaying indigenous peoples,
From the first year in Haiti,
To decades that decimated
Civilizations and tribal nations.
then statesmen and bosses kept their foot
on the neck of generations
Of black people.
Didn’t give blacks citizenship.
Could not vote,
could not own land,
could not learn to read,
Could not, could not
And what blacks produce and accomplished
was often stolen.
Because the patriarchal good old boys,
the land owners, the businessmen,
the whites’ word was against the colored.
The slave blocks were gone
But the oppression lives on.
Racism hurts the man then lives on
In his epigenetic code to harm the health of the children
And even their children
If he is not murdered by a policeman.
Four hundred years.
Plus, a couple if you count back to Columbus.
America was a state, but laws only worked for white males.
We were not a nation because of the fiction that
Only birthrights of certain Europeans counted.
Everyone else was annihilated, forced onto reservations
or gave their backs to the fields and sweat shops.
My white Scottish folk so poor they walked without shoes
for land the U.S. Government promised.
When they got to Illinois, they got nothing so they walked back to Kentucky.
Kids, our history books lied to us.
We have not been the land of the free
Or the home of the brave.
The white narrative didn’t mention the killings
The massacres of black people in the USA
This moment of public spectacle –America
with the world watching our cities on fire —
This might be the first time we’ve turned
Flipping back up for air. Facing it.
Now in this pause
Ask how you will create relief
Demand justice due to black people
Who suffer generational trauma
From racism – at American hands,
not only the hands of police.
Act from people over property.
Human beings never are things.
Don’t wait for the entrenched and powerful
To renounce greed. This isn’t about
The stupid stock market –
It’s about a life worth living
Make good on the Constitution promise
Now to fully awake
Now to turn
Now the will to go forward.
Not back to drowning inequality.
Not back to suffocating racism.