More Dangerous than the Klan

Things were much simpler
when racists wore their badges,
and stood out in the open,
burning crosses in yards
and strange fruit on trees.

Things were much simpler
when people with a drop of color
knew whom to avoid, to survive
and the unfair rules
were clearly articulated.

Things were much simpler,
though more dangerous
as homes, churches, streets,
and towns were bombed
at the word of a single person.

Things were much simpler
when the color line was a barrier
etched in black and white
all the while drenched
in the blood of unholy sacrifices.

Things were much simpler
then as the sheriff evolved
from slave catcher to grand wizard,
all the while watching strange fruit burn,
sending the stench of human pain to silent heavens.

Today, they hide
in plain sight,
sometimes spewing anonymous bile,
other times singing
of reverse racism.

Things were much simpler
when mothers knew
they could mourn their murdered babies
because the killers did not give a damn
what their names were.

Today while bodies are still warm,
their names are defamed
as bylines to a narrative
that serves to prepare
for the next extrajudicial killing.

Today, so-called supporters
dismiss your pain / life / experience / death
while dictating how you
should feel / talk / act / react / mourn / live
yet sheltered by their unacknowledged privilege…

Today, so-called supporters
discredit your accomplishments
/ intelligence / knowledge / hard work
as products of affirmative action
or reverse racism.

Things were so simple
back when friends were friends
who listened / saw / heard /felt
and lived / died with you
regardless of skin color.

Things were so simple
when everyone knew
who the enemy was
and which boogeyman
lurked in which shadow.

Now I know why some folks
keep longing for the good old days.

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