Saturday, July 18, 2009

During the 1960s and 1970s, Walter Cronkite Told Me the News and I Believed Him, Always 1917 - 2009 ~ R.I.P.

Colored Girl

In 1968 when Martin Luther King Jr., died,
I stopped being colored.

Sitting cross-legged,
on avocado shag carpet, I watch,
expressionless, our nineteen inch
black and white television—
Samantha Stevens rides her broom
side-saddle across
opening credits. Newsbreak:
Walter Cronkite’s pale eyes
do not blink as he informs
the nation,
Negroes are rioting,
on Chicago’s west side, in Harlem,
Watts. Across our Zenith’s screen,
light and dark gray images shift,
people running, buildings burning,
a colored man, carrying a naked
white mannequin, raises his fist,
Power to the people.

I wondered about darkness, as only
an eight-year-old child can wonder—
That April evening,standing
in my parents’ bedroom,
forehead pressed against
the cool window pane,
I watch the orange glow
from the riot’s flames, radiate
on the Chicago’s horizon

when would blackness envelop
my caramel-colored skin?

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