2012: Barry North – The Truth

Poem from the 2012 issue.

THE TRUTH
By Barry North

I could have been one
of those white
nondescript faces
in that 1930’s mob
in downtown New Orleans,
my father told me about,
who watched in silence
as some sort of labor dispute
unfolded in the warehouse district—
watched, like extras on a movie set,
a black man fleeing for his life
as a white man in the crowd sucker-punched him
against the momentum of his full gallop,
knocking out all of his teeth
and crushing his jaw.
Instead, I will trade
a mob for a circle
and listen in silence,
like a bit player selling
his own life short,
as a white firefighter
describes coming upon an horrific scene:
a car wreck in which all
the black occupants were ejected.
“There were bodies everywhere,
on the sidewalk,
in the grass,
even one stuck into the side
of an apartment building.
I swear, it looked
like it had been
raining niggers,” he concludes,
to a spattering of chuckles,
and my acquiescent silence.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s