South End Stew: Black Death

by K.D. Senior

A back breaks in a field,
does it make a sound?
Crackling like lightning,
striking fear into onlookers and passerby’s alike.
No one wants to get whipped.

Here comes the black death,
it eats its fill and don’t care what’s left…

Strange fruit dangles in the breeze,
does it make a sound?
A mother shields her child’s eyes
while their father is dragged through the street by his neck.
A morning paper reads:
“Nigger hung and shot to pieces by mob Unknown”
The child never forgets any of the faces.

Here comes the black death,
we can hide our eyes, but not the stench…

Batons meet with a skull,
does it make a sound?
A man remembers a night in hell
where state dogs sodomize his spirit…
They use a plunger.
“It’s Giuliani Time!”
Echoes in the room
though he sits in silence.
Lying under oath,
the state gives money for something
that should never have been took.
But every nigger has his price.

Here comes the black death,
it claims our kin and we don’t know who’s next…

Gunshots echo in the street,
do they make a sound?
Politicians give thoughts and prayers,
Policemen make empty promises,
and a mother loses the only reason she has
to live past her thirties.
His only crime was reaching for his wallet.
Another lifeless body juxtaposes concrete.
Our tax dollars at work.

Here comes the black death,
we know its despair, and not much else…

Our backs break in a field,
as we drop to the ground.
This plantation is a place where tales of woe are told,
with tears in the eyes,
to deaf ears.
We’ve toiled in our anguish for so long,
We do not hear when they come
to rape and kill our children.

Here comes the black death,
it devours all there is, till ain’t nothing left…

We say this is tragedy, they say it is justice.

Featured Photo by K.D. Senior.