I am the darker brother.

It’s the last day of National Poetry Month, but I am still very much at the beginning of working through the awfulness of last week’s acquittal of the police officers who killed Sean Bell.

Can I just ask, how can everyone say over and over again that he died ‘in a hail of police bullets‘ and yet those cops are back on the job this week?  Even if they somehow did nothing wrong in killing and unarmed man, how is it ok that they fired so many times?  How is it ok that Michael Oliver emptied his pistol, reloaded and kept firing?  He is single-handedly responsible for the ‘hail’ in that ‘hail of police bullets,’ firing three times as many shots as Officer Isnora, almost eight times as many as Officer Cooper.  Help me understand.  I feel like the androids in that old Star Trek episode who self-destruct when they try to process things that don’t make sense.  I really don’t want to self-destruct, but my brain is having such a hard time here.

But I want a little optimism, a little something not-so-jagged to hold onto.  And that brings me back to Hughes.  Even when he’s angry, he hums like the liquid sound of a well-played saxophone.


I, Too
Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh.
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed —

I, too, am America.

Seems a good way to close this month of poems. 

2 thoughts on “I am the darker brother.

  1. inmate1972

    This is the weirdest thing ever…I just had a rant in one of my classes over this on Tuesday and the professor asked the class to come back (today) with a poem to express our feelings over the event and this was the poem I read…

    I don’t mind saying I am a little freaked out by this.


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