Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dateline: Rosewood

Dateline: Rosewood
1923 New Year's Day

A bloody, bruised
white woman
stumbled from her home
in Sumner, Florida
claiming assault by a
negro man

                    1945 Auschwitz

Under an ashen sky
white men gathered
bloodhounds, guns, whiskey
and went after him

                    1955 Mayflower, Texas
        Rosa Parks arrested
        for refusing to give up
        her bus seat to a white man

By the time it ended
seven people died
unknown dozens of blacks
driven from their homes
into neighboring swamps

                    1968 Montgomery, Alabama
        Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A once thriving
black community
called Rosewood
burned to the ground

                    1995 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
        White supremacist Timothy McVeigh
        bombs federal building

as if they'd simply
eaten a hearty meal
the upstanding citizens
of Sumner, Florida
staggered home
for a good night's sleep

                    1998 Laramie, Wyoming
        Matthew Shepard beaten to death
        for being homosexual

In the smoldering rubble
that used to be
the incessant ping of rain
echoed off tin roofs

                    2010 Brotherhood of Klans'
                    response to immigration:
        “The racial war is among us.
        It is time to fight.”

Who's next?

photo & text by leh