Poem #30

I watch parades on the sidelines, people walking with rainbow-painted faces, raising banners, drumlines and bagpipes, endless drone of some centuries-old dirge smothered by radio screaming pop songs, the age range of child holding candy to grandmother walking poodle and an American flag on her wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses required, whistles to let people by, cars waiting patiently for the throng to pass.

I watch protests going down that same road, people shouting with fists in the air, signs voicing disgust, slogans of hope, songs and hymns proclaiming centuries-old persecution and sadness, the age range of child holding water bottles for police officers with shields and gas masks to the battered man of 80 who has seen too much bigotry in his long life, cars waiting impatiently for this group of people to pass for good.

I watch marches at night, people wearing all black in mourning, nothing in the air, only one coffin closed, burnished wood and cleansed in snow paint, the hymns could be a capella, spirituals and low hums by bass or alto, prayers raised or spoken silently, the age range of child knowing reality too quickly to the elderly who have lived past those who have died much too soon.


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