Thursday, September 30, 2010

I know the deafness of white ears

I am sambo, the shine,
In the St. Regis Iridium,
The Cotton Club,
The Terrace Room of the New Yorker.

I am the nigger, the black son of a bitch,
From the Florida Keys to Caribou, Maine;
From the Golden Gate
To the Statue of Liberty.

I know the deafness of white ears,
The hate of white faces,
The venom of white tongues,
The torture of white hands.

Melvin Tolson, A Gallery of Harlem Portraits (University of Missouri Press, 1979).