memories of my youth

Douglas Gary Freeman

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as children

we learned to stand on one leg

clasping bundles of hope between our teeth

 

not because we wanted

to resemble flocks of black flamingos

 

one foot in the smelly pile was better than two

 

the sky beckoned

its blue hues a promise

we carried in those little bundles

clamped tightly between our still forming teeth

 

some of us were trapped

unable to free the one foot-fall for lift-off

 

there were others whose wings were clipped

when their bright eyes betrayed

their recognition of amerikkka's truth

 

ninety-nine shots fired

as their backs arched

the majestic power of wings spread wide

surging upwards towards blue redemption

 

this is how sky colour became word for despair

anguished stain lynchings passed for religion

Douglas Gary Freeman, "memories of my youth" from Crossing lines : poets who came to Canada in the Vietnam war era. Copyright © 2008 by Douglas Gary Freeman. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
 
Source: Crossing lines : poets who came to Canada in the Vietnam war era (Seraphim Editions, 2008)