ODE TO KATRINA

What would Frederick Douglas have to say about it, 
For he has seen Black folks fenced in. 
Would Chrispus Attucks go for it, 
put up with it, I don't think so! 
Harriet Tubman would surely start searchin' for another place 
to bury the dead in a respectful manner 
and not left floatin' face down in 
The Muddy Mississippi flood waters. 
All Sojourner Truth could do 
is turn her pained face to the heavens and moan, 
please don't tell me 'cause I'm Black, that's the reason why!? 
The Buffalo soldiers would turn in their uniforms 
and ride off to the hills. 
It would make even Jesus fall on his knees and weep.
Wake Nat Turner from his restless sleep. 
Couldn't you see Louis Armstrong walkin' out of St. James Infirmary? 
Where he had found his loved one stretched out on a long white table, 
then walk out into the streets and blow a blues 
that would make the full moon break down and cry.
W.E.B. Du Bois couldn't do nothin' but shake his head and say, 
tricked ya'll again into believin' a lie. 
Marcus Garvey standin' on the deck of his Black Star Line screamin', 
if them Black Folks had of been white folks, 
help would have been there at first light.
I told ya'll to depend on yourself, but no ya'll won't listen. 
Cause when it's Black folks dyin' 
they always a day late and a dollar short.
Dafur, Ruanda, Burundi, Sudan, Gambia, and New Orleans. 
Caught ya'll hangin' out at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Down in New Orleans now you ain't got no means. 
John Coltrane's horn would scream, where is A Love Supreme? 
The Last Poets askin', will the real Black people please stand up 
'cause This is Madness and all the other poets 
includin' James Weldon Johnson, Lucy Terry, Phillis Wheatley, 
Paul Laurence Dunbar, Fenton Johnson, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes 
would turn to T. Bone Walker and ask: 
What happens to a dream deferred? 
Does it fester like a sore? 
Does it stink like rotten meat? 
Or does it explode? 
Nikki Giovanni, Lucy Smith, and even Walt Whitman 
would be at a lost for words,
but Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn't, 
his words would ring out and Mahalia Jackson would sing out, 
Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen, but now the whole world knows. 
Thurgood Marshall and Paul Robeson would roll over in their graves.
Make even Ghandi lose his patience. 
Rappers rappin' out a flurry of ear burnin' condemnation 
that would put us all to shame, 
'Cause if there's a hell below we all gonna go, 
You dig. 
While African American soldiers fight on the front line, 
Grand Ma was left stranded for four hot days on the burnin' roof, 
Uncle Joe served two tours of combat duty in Vietnam 
and sometimes they was fightin' hand to hand, 
they even left him, face up in the gutter. 
Is this what you dyin' for Black soldier? 
'Cause if it is, this would have been your homecomin'.
Would they, should they lay down their weapons and come on home, 
'cause that's where they're really needed. 
That's what Malcolm X would say. 
National Guardsmen rifles pointin' at your head, 
They should have been feedin' you instead. 
Now you tell me. What would you say? 

Anthony Earl Baggette, September 16, 2005       

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