There's Blood In The Street — Part Two

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Part two of two, this poem is inspired by, and a partial literary response to, highly publicized cases of police brutality against people of color, and those we never hear about. The character in this poem is fictional, but represents a larger narrative that is not.

 

There was blood on our hands
We enslaved those we considered unequal
Uprooted from the corners of Empire
This was undoubtedly the prequel

There was blood on their hands
Ebony skin hot beneath the sun
Men, women and children all
Bleeding, as they built a nation

There was blood on their backs
Flesh ripped from constant beating
Punished and often killed on a whim
No one would hear their pleading

There was blood on our feet
We trampled those we forced to plow
Never allowed to rise up
Unless hanging from a bough

There was blood on their lips
They sang songs of emancipation
Notes, from the depths of the soul
Rang prophetic, birthing a new nation

There was blood on our tongues
We spoke words that incited murder
State capitols, churches and hooded Klan
Spread the hate even further

There was blood on the streets
And at the end of police truncheons
Executions and incarcerations
While the rich held their luncheons

There’s blood on the walls
Of many an institution
That profits from, yet still holds down
Men and women of noble constitution

There’s blood on our textbooks
They reveal only part of the story
History, mostly written by the oppressor
The oppressed, a stain on their glory

There’s blood in the soil
It waters the seeds of injustice
Seedlings become shoots, become trees
Yield bitter fruit, shade the self-righteous

There’s blood in the ground
Try as you might, you cannot ignore
See, the blood of the innocent speaks
Demands an answer, even more

There’s blood on our conscience
Maybe even wrapped around our DNA
Something deeper, hidden from sight
That killed this son, brother, today

There’s blood in the street
Are these truths self-evident or not?
Are not all men created equal
With inalienable rights we somehow forgot?

There’s blood on our democracy
Though we proclaim liberty for all
If it’s foundation is injustice
What we build will surely fall

There’s blood in the street
And it demands our full attention
Requires understanding, then action
More than sound bites or fleeting mention

There’s blood in the street
A young boy murdered, his Momma grieves
Born Jamal Jackson Jr.
His name, history now receives


There’s Blood In The Street — Part Two © 2016 by Kris Peterson. All rights reserved.

 

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