Choose

I saw you swear

You are a black man

Never heard you yell

Except in quietude

You do not dream

Whilst staying awake

Or stay alive

while dying inside

Never heard  you  cry

While you shed the tears

You have not spoken

Without using your voice

You have not touched

When you love and look

Or tell  to all

What  you do  mean

Without being mean

If you’re keen

You would have seen

You are quite tough

But not thick-skinned

You are brotherly

A man

Or  utterly

Black

Of such a thing-

As  a black man

Have I not heard

image

credit

black

 

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27 thoughts on “Choose

      1. thank you and what a memory you have. I had my gallbladder removed and the surgery went well. I’ll be taking it a bit easier ( no riding for a few weeks). I always enjoy reading your work.

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        1. Sorry, I was interrupted while commenting earlier. I just wanted to add how impressed I am by your talent. Your work reflects a deep understanding of human nature. You maintain a consistent level of excellence, Gbolabo. That is quite an achievement.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Kaycee, thanks for reading the poem. If I didn’t write the poem, I would have had the same reaction as you did. The poem is presented as a dialogue between two people, but only the commentary of one of the two is narrated in this piece. The response of the other party is left out, ironically, for emphasis.Presumably, the first individual must have asserted that he was a black man. To this stance, the other person objects and presents his reasons for the disagreement.
      A few years ago, I went to a local bar to have a drink all by myself. It was the kind of bar where you go to drown away your worries – not really with the liquor being served, but rather with the banter of the ordinary folks who patronized the parlor.It was after a very long day and I was at a crossroad of conflicting decisions of immense importance. I choose a quiet corner and ordered a drink. Before my drink came, two gentlemen asked if they could share my table. I nodded in agreement. They were obviously having a friendly argument as they had barely taken their seats before one of the men was reiterating to the other that the other gentleman was not “black”. I must say at this point that going by the appearances of both men, they are as black as they come. The other man laughed and asked the first what he meant by saying he was not black. Without mincing words, the first man said that the skin color did not qualify the other man as black. To start with, he said the other gentlemen whom he addressed as Hezy, did not speak black, even though they both spoke English. He said Hezy did not idolize Dr. King. and only believed in Jesus Christ. He said Hezy’s parents and grandparents did not tell him about remarkable stories of struggles. He further buttressed his points by saying Hezy had never participated in any protests and he seemed oblivious of the inequality of the opportunities that permeated society.
      The two men probably noticed my keen interest in their discussion because the first man, who I later discovered went by Jo, short for Joachim, suddenly faced me and asked me what I thought. When I introduced myself and tried to share my opinion, Jo interrupted me, threw up both of his arms and exclaimed: “You ain’t black either!”. To this, his friend said, “Him too? If he’s not black, what is he? ” He answered he already picked on my accent and that I am not black, but rather African.L laughed, Hezy laughed too.
      As they began to pour their drinks, Hezy asked Jo to clarify if he is the only black man in the room full of obviously black people. I was glad that the question came before their drinks started going down. This is because I had not heard the strangest thing yet. Jo said he is black but he is not a black man. He said in his world, there are no black men. People are either men, or they are black. They cannot be both. He said the expression “Black men” is an oxymoron. I could not maintain my silence any longer after this. I asked him for some insight into his madness. Of course, I did not use the word “madness’. He said society is not liberated enough to breed black men. He said statistically, to be a man, you had to be something other than black. He said if you are black or you choose black or you are bred black or you believe in “black” or you breathe black, you are at risk of being destined to become less than the man in you.
      Jo drank very quickly, he excused himself to use the men’s room while Hezy and I pondered these confusing words in our minds. When he left, I had to ask Hezy who that man was. Hexy said that man is a professor of history. Jo came back in no time and shouted, to Hezy, “Young man, there is a time to drink, and a time to languish in jail, It’s eleven o’ clock. Both men bade me goodbye and left.
      I had not touched my drink the whole time. My sorrows had been drowned by the philosophy I heard that night. It felt strange. It felt like a riddle but it is not entirely ridiculous.
      I remembered this incident when I saw the word”Black” in the word prompt of the day.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. My friend, I do not know. We are all formed of frailty and errors. The wit that lies beyond the obvious is often what we call senseless. I have learned to talk about stuff without necessarily endorsing it. I seek to learn about other people’s opinions without becoming them.
          Thank you so much for your time. Your blog is amazing. Have a happy thanksgiving!

          Liked by 1 person

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