(February/'47 / Connecticut, USA)

When I Lead I Do Not Follow

I am not one to seek,
That good negro on the plantation appeal.
I am a field hand and proud of it.
Although I can whip up some biscuits,
And clean and take care of a house.
You may even see me fixing a shingle.

I will also sneak off to read a book.
And appear at banquets,
Regardless of how I look.
And dare to socialize and entertain.

I'm not defined by my emotional hangups!
Or will allow engrossing conversations about it!
To then remain upset,
Because I may be patronized.

'How does it feel to be a Black man,
In today's intolerant society.'

Excuse me?
I hope you are not representing,
An abundance of ignorance here.
If so,
Let me know!
I'd rather go out and plow.
Or feed some surprised cow in the field.
I will not be sharing ancestral stories.

I can choose to impress if I wish...
IF I took that time.
And I can be quite 'lofty'
When I use my mind to dropp jaws and lips.
If I so incline!

But what would be accomplished...
And my purpose for it?
I know who I already 'R'!
And I can 'beez' all that...
If I wanted.
But my needs are simplistically met.

Trying to find acceptance,
To excuse my heritage that I embrace...
Will not leave me to monitor my outer appearance.
Just to be another fool,
With no identity or dignity...
To acknowledge being disgraced.

Some just choose to be seen and beam.

And when I lead...
I do not follow!
Just in case you might think I'd be annoyed,
By you calling me 'boy'.
Or make reference to my coloredness.

Those 'others' might trip!
But me...
I've already been through it.
And my preferences are not exceeded,
By my expectations.
Or judgements 'I' may pass.

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