Four Poems|Dee Allen

SAMARITAN

 

Anyone else

Would’ve left that Far Right Reactionary sprawled on the concrete To bleed out, suffer in his

Paroxysms of serious hurt, receive Disaster of the steel-toed kind.

 

But not you.

 

The Good Samaritan Reflex kicked in, Wouldn’t let you

Abandon someone in need of help.

 

Distinctions such as

“Friend” and “foe” didn’t matter. Whom you saw laying at your feet Wasn’t an “enemy”.

 

Just an injured man.

 

So you lifted him in your arms, Slung him over your shoulder Like a heavy sack of laundry,

 

Carried him in a firefighter’s hold

With a cordon of protection around you, Your four comrades having your back, Moving past a raging crowd

And riot-cops

 

With the boisterous sounds Of the inner-city battleground In both of your ears—

Football songs, national anthem,

Protest chants, flares and smoke grenades— Maybe you thought

One dead White man

Wasn’t going to bring back

 

One dead Black man

In Minneapolis,

 

One dead Black woman In Louisville,

 

One dead Black man

In a Wendy’s© parking lot in Atlanta,

 

Martyrs from American Racial flashpoints—

 

Maybe you thought That injured man’s

 

Life was more worthy of salvation

Than stone monuments to previous wars, Winston Churchill’s statue

And the Cenotaph.

 

Descriptions such as “Hero” didn’t matter either.

You’re just a man protecting A neck that wasn’t your own

 

And you wanted

Equality, right this minute, For your children,

For your grandchildren, For the generations ahead,

For England and troubled America, If we can get past

Misunderstanding and factions. Brother,

 

I wish I had

Your Good Samaritan Resolve.

 

[ For Patrick Hutchinson. ]

[ Inspired by a photograph by Dylan Martinez from the international news service Reuters. ]

 

SLAVE STATE

 

 

The South’s Original sin Hadn’t missed The North.

 

Dutch and English Settlers in colonial times Bought and worked

By the head imported

 

Living commodities Subjects of kidnapping

From Africa, South Carolina, Forced to build the material wealth

 

At the ironworks, Farms, apple orchards, For a more Condescending kind.

 

Social codes Bullwhip brutality

Black and Native together In abject captivity—

 

The nasty Little secret

The Garden State

Continues to omit from their ongoing story—

 

It will take

More than an apology From a politician’s mouth

 

For us to develop any trust in systems, Northern or Southern—

 

 

[ For Bruce Hansen—1947 – 2019 . ]

 

GRAND MAROON

 

was the highest honour ever given to

a Black person for a noble act:

 

Freeing themselves from slavery.

Grand Maroon

 

was the prestigious title bestowed to

a Black person who would rather

 

die in the swampwater of the Bayou

 

than return to find the tree, the rope,

the overseer, the bullwhip &

hours in the standing sugarcane patch

by force waiting.

[ For Malik Rahim, Bilal Ali & Ayodele Nzinga. ]

 

NOT THE TIME

[ SONG – LYRICS ]

 

Now is not the time To be silent

Now is not the time

To turn your eyes from the violent

 

Now is not the time

To show your pokerface Now is not the time

To walk from attacks on another race

 

CHORUS: Not the time [ 3 TIMES ]

To ignore another’s distress Not the time [ 3 TIMES ]

To side with those who oppress Not the time

Now is not the time To be silent

Now is not the time

To turn your head from the violent

 

Now is not the time

To hold on to a selfish choice When you see oppression,

Remove your fear and raise your voice [ REPEAT CHORUS ]

Not the time

To give the cold shoulder This is the time

 

For this hate to be over [ TWICE ]

 

Photo by British Library on Unsplash

 

Dee Allen.

African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California. Active on the creative writing & Spoken Word tips since the early 1990s. Author of 5 books [ Boneyard, Unwritten Law, Stormwater and Skeletal Black, all from POOR Press, and his newest from Conviction 2 Change Publishing, Elohi Unitsi ] and 27 anthology appearances [ including Your Golden Sun Still Shines, Rise, Extreme, The  Land  Lives  Forever,  Civil  Liberties  United,  Trees In A Garden Of Ashes and the newest, Colossus: Home ] under his figurative belt so far.

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