“Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
They clapped in chains the litany of saints
That you and I have read about and stirred us.
They had them grease the iron with a passion play
And dolled up gilded links to crown them.
Tuesdays, they marched their black faces singing white
Like whippoorwills on window sills beside the blueberry pie.
And where the rainbows crested ‘neath a sweating sun
I saw ten thousand thousand like me waiting for a sin.
Monday, I’ll careen between the lines of silken ties
But make my business dirtier than our fifty fallow states.
If only I could be a black man for an hour and settle for a song,
And wrap my face in lavish chains and be where I don’t belong!
If only I had a voice like the caged bird does;
If only I knew the country that I was, and I admit is mine.