counting syllables
october, 1998


as if they were gold
he counted his syllables
and sent them to fly
sometimes late at night
i search the web for answers
and no one responds
often in my life
all my weight and dignity
dangled on a thread

in this position
it's easy to say you're lynched
unless the rope's yours

i listen instead
to the breathing of brothers
infusing my words

they called me nigger
god help me, i couldn't fight
i just bowed my head
i was once called john
my pride came from the system
no one knew my home