There Are Places Yet in this Country

There are places yet in this country
Where the black man had better not
Show his face after sundown,
Just as there are places
Where the white man had
Better not show his face, either.

And this is the way they want it.

Still mad
Arms folded
Brows furrowed—
Watchdogs barking
Because they can,
And guarding nothing but
The right to guard nothing.

Blaming it on the wicked past,
They do not realize that
This is the way they want it—
And that the past doesn’t really
Have anything to do with it.

Not really.

It is the heritage of empty people—
Tohu va vohu—
Having not got the memo
That certain improvements
Have been made since then.

Drunk with 100-proof machismo
And marking their territory
For fear that other men
Are like they are themselves.

And who among them
Has the brains to recognize
The vicious cycle for what it is—
And the courage to break it?

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