Tuskegee Revisited

A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the most widely known spokesperson for black working-class interests in the United States, met with Franklin D. Roosevelt and his administration to demand he sign an executive order banning discrimination against black workers in the defense industry. Randolph threatened to bring tens of thousands of marchers to Washington, D.C. On June 25, 1941, days before the march was to occur, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, which barred government agencies and federal contractors from refusing employment in industries engaged in defense production on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin. It was the first Presidential decree issued on race since Reconstruction. The order required the armed services, including the Marine Corps, to recruit and enlist African Americans.

List Of Eyes

I thought it was the rain
running down my cheek
I thought it was the flood
wetting my socks
I thought it was the ashes
of burnt promises
pressed upon my head
I thought my breath
would last until
I reached the surface
I cried until the roses bloomed
I held a hand too long
I have a list of eyes
I have looked into
none of them the orb
I thought you would be.

Now That The Lights Are Out

Now that the lights are out
warm and dark
the kids long gone
so is she
I’d rather sleep in the middle
between fetal
and spread eagle
not on my side
a back would be turned
there’s been enough of that.

Covered cold shoulders
pretended to be asleep
needed to work late
microwaved affection
pretended dinner.

Now that it’s all gone
I can hold closed eyes
hollar like church singing
find peace in what’s left.

I promise not to cut my feet.