Saturday, February 4, 2012

The American Monody


by Barry Michael Cooper

(for Black History Month 2012)

From pyre to gyre, revolving rings of crackling fire,
Shimmering waves of orange flame,
A gory island's infinity, cast in the light of incandescent pain;
Blood that licks the shores of Africa's terrain,
The innocent have nowhere to hide,
Porous fear seeps into the back-channel's scarlet tide;
The undertow of abduction swirling in the shock of cruel currents,

A starless night filling the sea with spectres of unwilling servants,
Mapping the Middle Passage's watery, sepulchered plains;
Death before dying, as we arrive on Mystery's Shore; 
Reviving just to survive and maintain,
History knocks; we search for Soul Free while body-locked
and forced onto the auction block (the 1st American peep show), 
Bound in shackle and chain; Silhouetted in bloody shadows, 

Brush-stroked in the Stain of America's Shame.

Aeons pass as Providence anoints a Sepia King, 
Justice stands far away from him, as Freedom struggles to sing; the eyes of Justice shut to truth, and deaf to the song, 
Rising with her blindfold in the mourning; did she sleep too long?
(And sometimes the voice of Justice is just all wrong);

From pyre to gyre, revolving rings of crackling fire,
America smells the smoke of anomie, but ignores the alarm,
Choking on the political soot of overheated and rhetorical harm
Only to be consumed in the incineration of its own hypocritical desire,
Burning in the flaming contradiction of self-righteous fire...
My debut anthology of street journalism from the 1980s (and more current essays), "Hooked On The American Dream-Vol.1: New Jack City Eats Its Young," is now available on Kindle/Amazon. Click here to go to the Amazon site.

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