Poet Laureate

AN ELEGY FOR BLACK BODIES 

1867 - 1924

Truth And Reconciliation.

Alachua County, Florida 

 

 

Your favorite pastime

 

Bonfires and   

backwood 

family gatherings 

beneath

the live oak canopy

sprawling confederate ivy

the smell of sweet magnolia

and

burning flesh 

permeate

our history

 

die hard 

 

die hard your heroes 

the old southern 

maestros

who strummed 

the swinging rope

emittiing

the strange 

familiar sounds 

of the peculiar 

instruments 

played down south

in dixie 

killing us

 

but i wasn't 

there!

 

we were all 

there!

 

just as we are all 

here

bound by our 

systemic

assembled together

not by happenstance or 

accident

but by a divine

power

much greater than ourselves

urging spirits

ghosts of 

bystanders

terrified,

afraid,  quiet, complicit, loud , boastful  

howling 

 

innocent

 

taken

 

dazzled by strangness

enthralled by the spectacle of

dangling black bodies

suspended in

atrocity

blowing in the breeze of

white supremacy

 

you 

revelled in our terror

our inherited 

horror

trauma passed down as gifts 

carved into us

 

you 

took

pieces of us

 

souvenirs

 

you 

took

pieces of us 

 

heirlooms

 

relics of our

comingled existence

 

 

but i wasnt

there!

 

we were all 

there!

 

just as we are all 

here 

 

today 

 

in this place 

at this hour

 

we confess

 

we seek 

a collective

mending

 

we seek

to heal

historical wounds

 

we seek

atonement

 

recompense through our reconning

forgiveness through our efforts

 

we grapple with

deeds 

we struggle with 

words  

 

inadequate language 

 

with each utterance of your name

victims of sanctioned violence 

we 

acknowledge your humanity 

 

taken

 

given

 

we 

honor you with hymns

lifted 

up from the backbone of our 

blues

we 

celebrate you in our mourning

we 

give reverence to your eternal spirits

 

we vow

never 

to repeat such atrocities again

 

you 

who have waited too long for

 us

 

we 

bid you

 

your 

descendants 

 

solace

 

may your souls rest 

in everlasting

peace

 

-          E Stanley Richardson

 

 

CENTURY OAK ___ A Conversation With A Tree

 

As I walked by

 

The Tree 

…. Cried out

 

Why don't you hold me anymore 

Sit beneath my shade

We barely ever talk

Like we once did

 

100 years ago

 

I know 

You blame me

 

For being

 

Deep inside

Us

 

Hidden

In the blind spot of memory

 

All of

Our

Pent up

Pain

 

We

Must Feel

 

I know 

 

You blame me

 

Because,

 

If I 

Had not been

 

They

 Would not have 

 

Dangled 

Your Brother

Your Sister

Your Father

Your Mother

 

....  From my limbs 

 

There would be

No blood 

On my branches

 

I would

 Be 

 

Only brown 

... Like you

 

With green hair 

 

Without tinge

 

With

No hint of red

 On 

My wood 

 

Please forgive me

 

 Had I known

 

If I could

 

... I would have

 

Plucked myself

Up

 

By 

The Root!

 

-          E Stanley Richardson

 

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