Thursday, July 06, 2006

Shubuta, Mississippi poem


This is my Shubuta poem and this photo of the Hanging Bridge was taken by J.D. Mason in the mid-1990s.

Ghostcards
(Dedicated to Charlie Lang and Ernest Green who were lynched in Shubuta, Mississippi in 1942)


The white girl's eyes are gray,
The boys scared her
So they wouldn't be invisible anymore.
She told and now
Their prison cell is gray,
The new paint slow to cover chipped walls.

Gray Zeros bombed
The Arizona last December.
Gray is the ash from Auschwitz
Seeking the sky for final release.
Gray is the dove's breast,
As she bleats: You die! You die! You die!

Gray in their grandmothers' shawls,
Gray hair sliding from thin buns.
The white girl's father spits gray tobacco juice
After he knocks down the fat sheriff,
And throws a gray blanket over his swollen head,
He couldn't stop the twenty men.
The mob wanted the boys right there and then.

Gray is the pavement outside
Manny's garage where they stole the tires.
As a joke! Rubber's such a war treasure.
Gray is Charlie's house sitting
Up the muddy banks of the flooded creek.
Gray is Ernest's uncle's suit,
He'll wear to the hasty burial.
Gray as Robert Johnson,
Singing "Rambling On My Mind".

Gray is the Hanging Bridge,
Whose camelback through truss span,
Works gray bile to the boys' mouths.
Gray is the coiled rope,
Cutting their fourteen-year-old necks,
Two pendulums swing over
The gray Chicksawhay River,
That gushes and churns in the moonlight —
A gray tornado of memory and spite.

2 comments:

JD said...

The Chickasawhay River is not grey. Actually it has more of red tint. Sort of like the blood vien that flows from Central Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. The life line of the area for many years. tiil then....

JD said...

The river is not grey. Actually more of a red tint from the red clay it eroides. Sort of like the blold vien of Central Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. It was the life line of many during the beginning of the development of Mississippi. But glad you took the time to write the poem.