Ghosts of Strange Fruit and Towering Trees

Blood of the fallen runs on the alter of vengeance
Eyes of fire replay their last moments
The tears that fall are the final expulsion of agony
We cry no more but see the kindling of our glory
Embers light up the dark night
The wailing of grieving mothers is the essence of our plight
Intuition is our vision even if we lose our sight
Last agonizing breaths of our ancestors absolutely indicts
The generations of slave masters 
The hell of our lives trivialized through lying tongues and murderous eyes
The wicked intent of their hearts pulling on the woven fabric
Of the very flag of which they hide behind
We are tired but resolved
Hear it in our sighs
For the children have seen strange fruit
With broken necks and bulging eyes as their father’s drove by
Instilling fear year after year each season 
Beginning with the commencement of tears
If there is indeed an almighty God
The anxiety of our children will not go unpunished
We have survived many violent summers
And the fire of resilience has warmed us in the coldest winters
In their last moments the beloved stood under the shade of  canopies 
Hanged on the branches of towering trees 
The same place they were whipped unmercifully 
The trees left as witnesses with splatter from the blood of tortured bodies 
In their deep roots they retained the tormented screams
And did not bear sweet fruit again 
They slowly withered with the discoloration of their leaves
Mothers fell to their knees and cried out for their sons
While their daughters tried to comfort them
For everything under the heavens there is a beginning and an end
The ghosts of the oppressed and the afflicted
Roam freely in the vast fields of plantations 
And among the aged towering trees where pain was inflicted
The soil where they toiled infused with sweat and blood
If you listen closely their songs can be heard
Hands with many scars and eyes blurred 
In unbearable heat they yet toiled under the overseer’s gun
Seeing the blood run from the hands of even the little ones
Their mothers sneaking to tend to their wounds with love
The towering trees witness their sorrow from above

The Progeny of Anxiety

black

The percussion of their heartbeat
Is the rhythm of struggle of many generations.
The agony of their fathers last words
Spoken intensely for so many summers. 
They have seen the hope of dreams
Turned into the nightmares of monstrous scenes unseen;
Their fathers lie there—eyes opened, as pooled blood 
Starts to run; the last remnant left behind
Of the affliction of their lives.
Mothers in unbearable anguish comfort their sons
and gently wipe the tears from their eyes;
They say, It will be alright, but in their hearts 
They fear their utterances lie;
Prayers are abandoned, and faces
No longer look toward the sky.
Stark reality is lifelessness taken away on a gurney,
While eyes stare, with not so subtle apathy;
Black children ask, What does that mean for me?
Tired mothers and fathers try to answer

But voices drag wearily;
Targeted we may be, but we find our strength daily.
We will survive; even with tears in our eyes, we will survive.
In anxiety, we will survive;
In depression, we will survive;
With a generational history of PTSD, we will survive;
With OCD, we will survive;
With afflictions of all kinds, we will survive;
And after the dark winter we will thrive.

For George

Lifeless he is carried; his open eyes look towards the sky.
The remnants of his tears stream, just minutes before he screamed
I can’t breathe, still the evil one pressed harder with his knee;
In his last moments he called for his mother; in distress he was, but 
Still, he could see her. Cold-blooded eyes stared with arrogance in the air;
Inside they smiled for they relish the instillation of fear.
We hang on in constant distress hoping that our salvation is near;
Strange fruit appeared on blood spattered trees for so many years;
Our brown hue our only sin— Constantly in our oppression we are set back
Then begin again; Our lives lived like a tormented novel 
Written in the bowels of hell and narrated by the devil.
Over fifty years ago, We Shall Overcome was sung,
But still now we sit anxiously with weathered hands wrung—
We survive but we have yet to thrive. Systematically we are targeted
So our solemn plight is to stay alive. They see our sorrow, 
But they ignore our cries; I swear under the heavens 
and on the pain of my grandmother’s eyes, that one day . . .
That one glorious day, we shall arise.