Tuesday, January 20, 2009

barack's our headman now


Obama is our headman, now,
not a red man, or lowbrow,
but highbrow who pulled ahead
thanks to what is in his head,
ignoring musclepower that’s
associated with hard hats,
and black men who compete in sports
like lawyers specialized in torts.
Blacks whom white men would attack
unless they lingered at the back
must all feel now extremely mellow
being led by this bright fellow,
a man who’s proved that he can move
white people to do right. Once you’ve
experienced the euphoria
that he produces, gloria
won’t be just in excelsis. We
can celebrate it being free
from burdens of past evils, ready
for leadership that feels most heady.
(I sign off with enthusiasm,
as I conclude with a chiasm.)

Written after hearing the blessing given by the Rev. Joseph Lowery at the inauguration of Barack Obama:
Amid the outpouring of inaugural joy over the racial progress represented by President Barack Obama, there was a single, humorous mention of work still to be done. After the first black president had been sworn in, Rev. Joseph Lowery' ended his benediction with a rhyme familiar to black churchgoers: “We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around...” There was laughter from the enormous crowd. The 87-year-old civil rights pioneer continued: “When yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.”

© 2009 Gershon Hepner 1/20/09

1 comment:

  1. Amen. Sort of fitting the man was installed one
    day after the day marked to honor Martin, as if
    to add an exclamation point after Martins own long continued exultations about reaching the promised land. It was a beautiful sight, watching the next president walk slowly down that long,
    long hallway..into his new life (and hopefully a new chapter for this country).