Saturday, December 15, 2007

Song of Easter


Black prince of my heart,
all the flags of the world
fly today at half-mast,
your King is dead.

Some weakling
with a high-powered rifle
shot him in the head,
and it seems
that the anger of centuries
constructs firebombs
row upon row.

But man of ebony,
please remember
together we stiffly saluted
the perfumed ones,
and stood shoulder to shoulder
in stone stadiums,
clutching our gladus
and trident;
combating savage beasts,
our sword arms a blur,
our blood the same color.

we waded through marshes of silt,
with a cold steel chain
at our bleeding ankles,
hearing the hounds
baying at our heels,
fleeing the rope
and certain death.

It was your strong brown hand
that pulled me to freedom
swinging me up
onto that slow frieght boxcar,
and it was in your arms
that I was held,
shaking with malaria;
and it was in your home
that I sipped hot chicken-sausage gumbo
until my eyes cleared,
and my strength returned.

we snaked through the hot ferns
on our stomachs,
in the jungle darkness
under that impenetrable canopy
of the sonofabitchin' 'Nam,
flashed silent nocturnal bayonets,
carried our wounded buddies,
bleeding on our shoulders
to the choppers churning before dust-off,
plucked dog tags from the dead,
shared women in Da Nang.

my brother,
now that we are home
and have the leisure
to nurture prejudice,
do not turn on me
like something rabid and vicious,
frothing at the fangs.

Man,I am not
your enemy.
we have been warriors.
Let us now share
the plow
and till together the black soil of spring.

Let us color Christ
There is room on the cross
for two,
and a black Messiah
reasonates with actual history.

Take my hand,
drink from my heart,
accept my love, brother;
we still can defeat
the fat ones.

Glenn Buttkus 1968

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