Journey of the Black Male
Have you ever seen a black man walk straight?
Not shucking nor jiving, not strutting – but straight!
It’s a long time coming, this regal gait
Takes a lot of shedding, of self loving, forgiving
It’s like an awakening, to come into this trait.
‘Cause you can walk, like you own the street
Or sway, like you’ve got music in your feet
You can square your shoulders, but the fear is still there
You can put on a tie, Africanize your hair
In a million ways, you can loudly declare
Your existence! With insistence!
But the wound on the face of the earth is so deep
It will weep just ‘cause the morning has come.
And your ears can be listening ever so long
For the whispering sound of a blessing
And an oath that forgives its own listening.
An in all the world over it will be denied
As if a pitiless mother ignored your cries
This would tell, though with shoulders square
And this would weigh though your hands were bare.
But every once in while, when smoke clears
The horizon yields in the sun’s bleeding gold
The form of a man that walks so straight
you know it’s a rare sight to behold
He has reached deep within
And found he has treasure to share.
He has known his own soul
And found God standing there
He begs no admission, yet is not blustering
He commands while whispering.
Reveals secrets hidden from the collective
Honors the insights insisting
on springing from the heart’s wellspring
He knows from where he has come,
Can measure the distance between,
and in one breath
Forgives all they have done.
Yet has his sights on where to go.
That’s why I say that if you had ever seen
a Black man walk straight, unbowed
you would not have forgotten.
Because the seas would have parted to let him thru.
You would say, “he heads for the mountain,
And I go with him. We are kindred true.”
He would have a mind that was noble,
A heart of pure gold. He would light up
His eyes, and at once be humble and bold.
Ah, it’s a thing that is hard to explain
This elusive coming into one’s own
That makes a man conscious of race
Not as a brand but a gift of grace,
It is a treasure we all chase, young or old
It eludes most, this heavenly gait.
The change from the furrowed brow
To walking unbent, not cowed, straight.
Few can breathe easy in the smoke filled now
Or lay claim to a mantle and crown.
But it is truly a sight to behold.