“Speculative” by Willie James King

Willie James King


So, this is the New South
where whites attend Parks’
funeral in multitudes, yet
send their own children to
separate schools. She died
in poverty, which means,
she was poor in cents
but rich in spirit. So don’t
tell me about change, or
how hard they are trying
while racism wreaks havoc
still, like AIDS, diabetes
that kill; there’s no cure.
Alabama ought to be our
nation’s Athens now. Yet,
most will want to avoid this.
I’ll tell you, I am infused by
so many different races I
almost had all that’s African
erased from me. Yes I want
philosophy, and papillons
in my poems, to focus on
what’s wrong with our being
in Iraq, without wondering
as to who’s got my back.
I would love to be far more
speculative with syllogisms
and not here writing about lies
bigotry, or about what hate is.

from Rattle #31, Summer 2009
Tribute to African American Poets


Willie James King: “I write only compelled to do so. Writing is hard, that is why I love it. Language is as difficult to control as any animal found in the deep, wild woods. They don’t conform. They hold to what they do best, no matter how we holler: Humanity! Humanity! And that is why I write; I might be able to speak not only for myself, but for those without a voice; or, who they think they are, etc.”

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