"Antifa's Ghosts," "The Lie," and "Why Do Black Men Have to Be So Angry"

Antifa’s Ghosts

Hip-hop jazzes thirsty urges, like
         lyric pleas, spews outrage
                  against strangled dreams.
Injustice’s roots unleash phantasm’s jetsam
         unmasks anger, desires, worries, prod
                  an untimely light on the hungers.
Under worry-worn souls’ distant visions
         dreams, vaporous mirages stir fueled
                  by “the great promise” unfulfilled



The Lie

It is not my skin color - ,
yellow brown, like the sand
daddy spread in the play box -
nor the home that raised me
in a neighborhood where
everyone, like us, had the
blood of Africa and lion hearts.
The lie my child-self hid
from Whiteness is the pretense
of equality. In blackness
I clung to God’s providence
while neighbor voices
whispered, you have love,
amid outsiders’ hateful taunts.



Why Do Black Men Have to Be So Angry?

Why do Black men have to be so angry?
A white man asked after my talk
about what Blacks wrote and when on
America’s dream sown like seeds to
root for some while theirs hit fallow ground.
His tone and eyes told me
His heart is too small to expel racism’s taint
And his will to weak to understand the weight
of an other’s pains and disadvantages without
thoughts about his burdens.
So the nine words hung in silence.
Discomfort slithered through the audience,
as listeners straightened and nervously waited,
in flustered silence as if Black anger’s roots
and the truth of slavery and segregation are unproved mysteries.
Why do Black men have to be so angry?

I wondered how to not tell them that grinnin’,
dancin’, singin’ and callin’ on Jesus only go so far.
A real Black man’s hurt where they cannot see,
or how he learns to cleverly hides his scars.
Why do Black men have to be so angry?

Because their faces get tired of grins.
They cannot tell you that Stepin Fethcit is dead,
or anyone Whiteness calls a good black,
is a Negro minstrel trying to hard sell an illusion.
Why do Black men have to be so angry?

The crowd eased forward as my mouth opened.
I said, ‘cause they crave dignity, justice and truth,
And see this world offers their color little of either.
They ache every day because they can say nothing.



Vincent Golphin

Vincent Golphin teaches and writes in Central Florida. He is widely published in magazines, journals and anthologies, most recently in the Poet Speaks series. His last solo collection, 10 Stories Down, reflected on several years in Beijing, China. Please donate to Fair Fight Action, Inc., which supports voting rights in Georgia and throughout the nation. Now more than ever the cause can use support.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, July 21, 2022 - 22:04