The Golden Shovel Anthology
New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooka edited by Peter Kahn, Ravi Shankar, and Patricia Smith with a Foreword by Terrance Hayes, Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2017.
By Lewis Turco
They were not fools: our parents always knew
The mores, ways and words of all the white
Folk that surrounded us. Even their speech
Was not beyond us – it was not the how
That we found useless, but we were never to
Become our “betters,” we could never make
Our skin turn white. We would always sing a
Song that’s black and blue; we’d always look
The way we look. We had to learn an an-
Them of our own and follow our own omen.