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trapped in their skin
bearing the wrath
of iniquity
matted hair wetted by the tears
of a thousand weeping gods
their innocence paralleled only
by the openness of the plains
where they sang their songs
as the nighttime dwell

awakened rudely from their unabashed idyll
as huge rafts appear on the painted skyline
the bellows from their bellies overwhelming
followed by clouds of smoke that filled the air
the bang that echoed from the cliffs and hills
as fire sputtered from the long pipes’ angry throats
was rivaled only by the roar of the gods
from an angry rain soaked and moonless sky

the morning mist repelled the dark of night
as the men approached the valley’s hush
their pale faces seemed scary and strange
as they shouted orders in a raging tone
the villagers fled in a directionless haze
but all to no avail as the nets they set
the night before gulped mother and child
till the village was just a skeleton
of reeds and clay

imagine the fear in their African hearts
as they were dragged to the ships like deer on a leash
envisage a father not capable of
defending his family or of protecting his own
and then imagine those who were left behind
hiding behind tree trunks glaring and listening
to the far off sounds of the sea monster
disappearing in the night
expecting to be part of the load
the next time they appear

the ships pregnant with its human freight
of naked black bodies cramped into each other
chained to one another
chained to the stench
that lingered forever
in the confined bounds
drenched in dampness and dirt
covered in darkness
and human waste
the endless lashes
the crudity
the bestiality
the sloppiness
hung in the air for the months
at sea
the blood… the rape

the ships kept on transporting
the “goods”
from the corners of the motherland
disuniting families
dissipating households
innocent beings
never anticipating to be dragged
from their geographical zone
into a world of torment
and the ultimate desolation
the feeling of remoteness
loneliness and total despair
which must have been at times too much to bear

only when the loops forced the air
from their gasping lungs
and caused their limbs to hang lifelessly
swinging in the afternoon breeze
while their persecutors claimed to be
a christian nation who acted
under the auspices of a living God
they started questioning
the reason for their existence
questioning God and his existence
yet they still managed to sing the songs
they called… the blues!

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Editing stage: 


your poem has a lot of emotion and tells the history well. It is important, and there is an audience. We all do it, we all live in unfair and often inconceivably inhuman places, and the history of our tribe is filled with genocide. So we write poems of outrage. Your poem is powerful.

But the question comes, to what end? For whom do we write, and can poetry change anything? To me the stance of the poet is what creates a uniqueness about whatever carnage he is talking about. You are giving us a great speech in poetry.
But the speech becomes more a poem when you enter it. So that's where I feel your strong craft will go to the next level.

In the end I thought of this great song, The Birth of the Blues:

...From a whippoorwill
Out on a hill
They took a new note
Pushed it through a horn
Til it was worn
Into a blue note
And then they nursed it, rehearsed it
And gave out the news
That the southland gave birth to the blues!

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

I appreciate your visit as well as your input. Emotions crystallize till it becomes free and takes flight. The only damage it can cause is in the eye of the beholder.

author comment

There's much about your writing that is good As Mark pointed out a sense of craft lives!!
In my opinion the narrative element rules here at the cost of the poetic, as if you just needed to enter the dates to fill out the piece
Do you believe in the value of the suggestive, the metaphor, the symbol, ambiguity?
I believe they break through the concrete and let both the writer and reader fly

To me in poetry the narrative is scaffolding ie the bones not the seduction of a fragrance that moves the soul
I hope my comment is useful if not disregard it

Best Z

I thank both you and Mark for your honesty. Food for thought

author comment
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