“A Tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks’ ‘The Chicago Defender Sends a Man to
Little Rock’ & Robert Hayden’s ‘Middle Passage,’ with lines from each”
A Journal of the Arts
In Little Rock, the people bear Time.
In Little Rock, they know
“They are like people everywhere.”
in a hundred harryings of Why.
voyage through death
to life upon these shores?
And why do
the living look at you
like the dying is your fault?
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You can tell what they care for by the things they follow, they/
Like & comment/ where they lie.
I have learned/
The invisible man speaks hard truths, and/
it goes against their sentiments, so they/
Keep going for the fun facades/ and glamorous dress & drinks in hand/
A gorgeous world of glass & diamond/
Easily shattered & unable to break/ A prison
that splinters daily, sinking its shards/
Into soft flesh, but I find I tried/
Everyone’s way but my own & I claim/ that truth.
Ironically, I am loved yet called/ one thing/
Then another while no one/