What happens (4th of July poem)

What happens to the spirits

of those who died

on trail of tears or wounded knee

To the lies of “great” George Washington

and his cherry tree?

What happens to a dream

that is presented as freedom

but reeks of slavery

and star spangled hypocrisy?

What happens when Black youth protesters

in Baltimore

are “thugs”

and white white-collar criminals are


and all those in between are unseen?

What happens to red and white stripes

that feel like cold steel prison bars

and little white stars

that mask incredible scars?

What happens in this world now

and what is left?

where our future is uncertain at best

where some wonder if this is all we get

Do we still dare to dream?

I wrote this poem (different title, different version) several years ago in my first book Mules Fight Back (which is on amazon btw, shameless plug). I just updated it as I, especially as an African American, struggle with the celebration of the forth of July…

“The Fourth of July freed the land from Britain; the 19th of June freed all the people,” Myers said. “So you really can’t talk about freedom in America unless you talk about Fourth of July and the 19th of June.”

A CONFLICTED FOURTH: Some Black Americans struggle celebrating Fourth of July

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