Happy Poetry Friday!
I was in a quandary about this post as we approach the 4th of July weekend and its celebrations. My views on July 4th as independence day have changed. If we are as a country, as one nation going to embrace and celebrate Freedom, I think it needs to be a celebration and holiday for all people, of all colors, and our 4th doesn’t do that. Perhaps we need to change the date, and begin to reconsider what a celebration of FREEDOM means.
As I was pondering these ideas, this last week I read two poems that both spoke to me and moved me. They were both in last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review section. The first was WEATHER by Claudia Rankine–read her poem and listen to it here. The second was SAY THANK YOU SAY I’M SORRY by Jericho Brown. From Jericho Brown’s poem I took a line and built a golden shovel from all these thoughts of not wanting to remain silent.
RETHINKING THE 4TH
I’m thinking about July 4th… I’d
like to rethink why we Like
celebrating freedom, on this day. What Us,
on this day, has been denied their inalienable right To
breathe and live without fear? I’d like to Rethink
what true emancipation for people of color would look like. What
they’ve been denied socially, politically, and legally, and how It,
their freedoms, need change Now. Now, today Is
hundreds of years over due To
rectify their lost lives, lost respect, lost dignity. Be
a beacon, look inward, use your words, your actions–begin to make A
change for people of color in our, one Nation.
© 2020 Michelle Kogan
Striking line from Jericho Brown’s poem, SAY THANK YOU SAY I’M SORRY
SAY THANK YOU SAY I’M SORRY
by Jericho Brown
I don’t know whose side you’re on,
But I am here for the people
Who work in grocery stores that glow in the morning
And close down for deep cleaning at night
Right up the street and in cities I mispronounce,
In towns too tiny for my big black
Car to quit, and in every wide corner
Of Kansas where going to school means
At least one field trip
To a slaughterhouse. I want so little: another leather bound
Book, a gimlet with a lavender gin, bread
So good when I taste it I can tell you
How it’s made. I’d like us to rethink
What it is to be a nation. I’m in a mood about America
Today. I have PTSD
About the Lord. God save the people who work
In grocery stores. They know a bit of glamour
Read the rest of the poem here.
Listen to A Conversation With Poet Jericho Brown by Tess Terrible and Lucy Nalpathanchil, June 30, 2020.
Linda Mitchell at her blog A Word Edgewise is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday roundup, thanks Linda! Linda wrote a powerful poem on rescuing “Liberty” and our US crimes that we need to own and change.
Be safe, be well, and think about others.
Visit Renée LaTulippe’s site No Water River to find out more about what Poetry Friday is.