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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

SERVE AND PROTECT



Apartheid never ended 
here in A-me-rica
it just got more subtle
the arbitrary traffic stop
for the flickering tail light
that quickly escalates 
into life or death
is payback for your sipping 
from the wrong water fountain
for lo these many years now...

and a sympathetic jury of his peers
from kin-dee-garden on
trained to revere and respect 
the badge 
the uniform
the flag
and indeed any symbol of authority
under any and all circumstances
likely as not will let him off
if he remembers to say those magic words
I feared for my life

and if someday he should fall
in the line of duty
a huge parade will escort him
to his final resting place
yes 
give him his due
he laid it on the line each and every day
to serve and protect

though here in A-me-rica
the dark-skinned man
who gets in his car
drives to the store
just to get some milk for his babies
may have the riskiest job of all

where's the parade? 

23 comments:

  1. Yes, indeed and in truth, Tim. We'd think we were all beyond the double standards of the past but they are inculcated in our value systems and those do not change fast enough to make a difference. Thank you for this poem on this day.

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    1. Kerry, in truth I hadn't checked the site before I wrote this today...didn't know it was going to be about Mandela...how's that for serendipity? And thanks for the insightful truth of your comment!

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  2. Touching and sadly true.
    We all live in a dangerous world these days but some have to live in even more fear than should be their share in this life.

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    1. And for what good reason? There are none.

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  3. I hear Native Americans have the same problems.

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    1. That's why I wrote it as "dark-skinned man". Guess I better not let on that I have some Cherokee blood!

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  4. I am pleased you wrote about this.Getting into a car for a black person can be a potential death sentence.If every American were like you there would not be a problem. In fact if every American were like you there would have been no slavery to begin with.Shame .

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    1. Awfully nice of you to say. But I guess it's true :)

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  5. i remember stealing a loaf of bread here and sum milk there for my family ... they always sent me cuz i was white ... Love, cat.

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    1. That way no one would have suspected U...this innocent looking little white child...but I'm onto you...heh heh

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  6. Healing takes time, but we do wish it were much much faster. What a profound write!!

    much love...

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  7. As the parent of dark-skinned man, I wish your poem was a lie. But blindness has never helped anyone. So, I see your words.

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    1. I wish it were a lie too. All best to you, Magaly!

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  8. some black people sold their own into slavery - some white people helped free the slaves. Today it's a mixed bag - some still hate because of skin color - others love everyone regardless. I don't blame America - I do think it's the best country to live in and I am proud of it - but we have a long way to go. I hear you in this poem - and I hope one day we can call it fiction. Or the past...

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    1. Thanks. Seemed like for a while we thought it was in the past...that was before the widespread use of cell phone cameras.

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  9. When I was young, we had "party lines" on our telephones.
    __ Today, "Party Lines" are a rigidity within -EACH- party, that causes them to believe they are so "educated" that there is no alternative balance. Believing Citizens with different (no matter how civil) views, have yet to reach their Superior Educational Levels, makes them believe the Proletarian opinions are invalid.
    __ Bowing under to avoid deep discussion: is that education? "A new strait needed." _m

    proletariat
    the wealth that ships histories
    strait line

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    1. Thanks for another thoughtful outpouring, my friend.

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  10. Awesome blog, i always enjoy & read the post you are sharing!
    Thank for your very good article...!

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