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poem | Maxine Clarke

his kind of gospel might not be
sopho aristophilosophy
this man might not be dream in baritone like king
or dangerous like us black folk
all kind of thought malcolm was but never said he
might not bring healthcare world peace
race peace education unpoverty a revolution
to his country this country the world anyone
anywhere in fact he surely won’t he
might not even be a good father husband
lover leader person who knows or hell even cares
if he’s all that genuine us browns know this man
is no solution but he lets us eye our knock-kneed sons like
                  hey
                  maybe one day
                  my boy could be the  one
so every early morning late night newscast every
can I get I witness same old black shit day
I drag my baby to the screen & make him watch the man
& say his name the boy says
                  obama
                  banana obama
                  obama in  pajamas
& he cackles in his crazy two-year old way
a no worries in the world mud pie
brown boy who just might be president
one day the
checkered  crowd swells & heaves
like a living—
it is a living thing this
right to  breathe like
                 damn
                 maybe my breath counts 
 that closing in of a noose under alabama tree that
 back-bent-cotton-picking wheeze that
 diving deeper for master’s pearls until one day
 your body just won’t surface those
 cold grey lungs salt-logged like
 a genesis curse

will you blame us that
when he called we heard will you
blame us that when he called we heard will
you blame us that when he called we
packed up the house the life the kids the conscience
grabbed the cardboard the car the coin jar
& came running with all we had
when we knew this man was mostly no
solution might not bring healthcare world peace
race peace education unpoverty a revolution
to his country this country the world anyone
anywhere & in fact surely would not will
you blame us we didn’t know or hell even care
if he was all that genuine when he
let us eye our knock-kneed sons  like
                  hey
                  maybe one day
                  my boy could be the  one

from ‘Unmiracle’ (c) Maxine Clarke 2008.

Maxine is performing at the the First Human Rights Arts & Film Festival Slam
http://www.hraff.org.au/melbourne-poetry.html

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