When Something Happens

Sometimes, when you’re called a bastard
over a period, say,
of several centuries;
sometimes, when you’ve opened your brain
to a window in the sky,
become almost a bird for want of flying;
sometimes, when a child walking
in your eyes is shot,
feeling, somehow, what you wish to forget,
through all cities your stark sorrow moving
where the sun leaks hideously
its garbage and the garbage
rots in your own stuffed room
and no one
in all the world gives a damn,
are firing rockets, are
ramming the roof of Heaven, are
crowning glory with glory…
Sometimes something happens

and happens and happens
when your breathing shape is tired to death
of being told
how well it lives,
how decent stinking ghetto,
the milk skimmed off to show, to demonstrate
this vegetable darkness.
when you are cheated, when
even netted fish find more freedom
and the eyes of stuffed beasts,
the eyes that never shut, seem
to mock you with their stuffed look–
you lead your blind family
from darkness to darkness,
on C street on 5th Ave look for work,
move your beast where
the white god’s spit
and the El’s grey slug sparks along tracks
and cattle are butchered far from farms
and farm boys wonder
who you are how so many millions
stand, shaded, different.

Let one word be spoken; let
the sky jump under your fists, let
the sun go out, drenched in your tears,
no leaf be still,
but the generations of trees transmuted
by your found anger; let
pushcarts lose their geometric rims, the circles fall apart.
O God! Something
happenns in this new world prison,
when prisoners rise up!

–James A. Randall Jr.

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