A photograph
a snapshot, frozen in time,
black and white, high contrast,
a stark difference between each tone,
harsh lines divide and define
what we consider to be above the poverty line.
But the line is so thin,
the margin so close,
close as the chicken wire fence,
the tetanus infested dividing post,
a tattered tin roof, the throne of the cat.
Who dat over dere
sitting where my ancestors sat?
We have occupied this place for some hundreds of years
that we took out of fear
that our kind was being cleared,
extinguished, put out,
put up, swept away,
down the gangway,
walk the plank,
and raise a flag with your claim
to this new world, this new land.
But a hand covered in this soil is just as brown as their hands
and your feet that walk the very same path,
mud between our toes,
sulphur in our nose,
family in our hearts.
So close and yet so far apart.
But if you peel back a layer
dim the lights, close your eyes,
you breathe in the same salt air depicted in their photographs,
It’s the same backdrop, yours and mine.
But it seems we’re stuck, frozen in time,
in the humidity and muck,
of this blood drenched earth, sucked in and sticky
from the trespasses you made against me,
my grandfather made against yours
and my people made a thousand times before.
But if we stop to look around and zoom out
the world is spinning so fast ahead
leaving us in this cloud,
a time capsule of hate
buzzing with transgressions we can’t seem to erase
or swat away like the mosquitos who don’t discriminate
between black, white, or grey,
yellow, brown, red alike
our blood is sucked and mingled in the belly of a pest,
a mite whose tolerance for other is more evolved,
though it’s brain may be small it sucks freely from all
despite the shade of the wrapping of this precious gift sustained and spilt
time and time again until one of us loses
but what if we both win?
Crown a victor of us all,
crown high on our heads,
let it dance and glimmer, sparkle and spread
throughout this land
where sunbeams shoot down through Spanish moss,
the old oak branches, dressed in beads tossed
then Flash! bulb broken, broken glass,
watch your step or you’ll have the same gash as your neighbor,
your friend,
your equal.
One race.
One class.
So once more let’s gather around
to the humming twang of banjo sounds,
frogs singing, rejoicing, lifting one voice.
We’re painting a new picture in indigos, blue-green,
oil, acrylic, matte, shiny, sheen,
a permanent depiction,
mixed watercolors too,
swirling together, a masterpiece, a Krewe.