Monday, April 15, 2013

He Was A Man

"I am a man."

The words escaped
His lips in a whisper,
His eyes cast down
On the pavement.

He was alone
And before him stood
A crowd of good, old

The men he grew up
With, played with until
They were told that 
He was beneath them.

Bobby Joe, Sam, 
Mickey and Thomas,
Men who refused to
See him as an equal.

Men who possessed
Power and numbers,
And what did he have?

What did he possess
That would prove to
Them that he was like
Them with the only
Difference being 
The colour of his skin.

"What did you say, boy?"
The question was spat
At him. He felt the
Saliva on his face.

"I said 'I am a man.'"
He looked up,
Steeling himself for
The first blow, be it
A punch, a kick or 
A knee to his groin.

Nothing came,
He looked them
In the eyes, finding
Shock and uncertainty
In their gaze.

"Is there anything
Else you want to ask me?"
Hearing no answer, 
He slowly stepped back.

He walked backwards 
Till he was a safe distance
Away. He cut through
Old man Peterson's field
To his house.

It was time to leave town,
It was one thing 
To be a man, 
It's another thing
To be a dead man.

As he packed his 
Few possessions,
He felt a sense of pride,
For the first time 
In his life he stood up
For himself, and 
By George, 
It won't be the last.

He was a man.


Buddah Moskowitz said...

Wonderful - a great scene and a great sentiment.

Lisa Williams said...

A well written poem describing a time when equality was not a right of birth, a sad time for so many. A wonderful write.

aquadragonfruit said...

I really like your line breaks. This is my favorite part:

"It was time to leave town,
It was one thing
To be a man,
It's another thing
To be a dead man."

poemblaze said...

powerful poem!

RMP said...

nicely said. I can only imagine how good it felt to speak up and stare them down. it's a shame he still had to leave but being a man is definitely better than being a dead man.