John Smith


It's December 1955 and Montgomery
Is slow dancing in her daring.
An earthquake brews beneath
Her idle drone, her fissured roads and
Scissored waters erupting a tsunami
Wave of discontent. Buses roar
Elephant trumpets through cemented
Cameroon ebonies, trampling
Innocence, carving wings from ruins.
Black cloud trail, bellows exhale
To caroling jingles of coins trickling
Fare machines. Something sublime
Crossed the color line: a no-man's-land
Of declarations, proclamations, and
Defecation by chicken shit politicians.
A no-man's-land for faceless badges,
Namless branding irons of hate,
Another colored woman arrested.
Leaflets fly, hand fans flap
Whispers woven between mint julep
Sermons like pin drops on pews.
Pressure raised high as rooftop
Torches, a crescendo of tongues ablaze
In a firestorm. Bone stick, shaker and
Conga, a symphonic revolution,
A master drummer cadenced
To dreams, the hush, a hum, foot
Stomping thunder, an avalanche
Of patience thinned. It's time
To stand. Soul too tired to move.

John Warner Smith, a resident of Baton Rouge, La., is a banker by profession. He is currently working on his first book of poems, entitled "Hand Fans."


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