By Kenneth Reams
This poem won second place prize in the 2016 Lifeline Poetry Competition.
If this was your “eleventh hour"
If this was that moment of exactness
Where you could feel
The presence of the Shadow of Death
I mean -- that true instant where
You soulfully felt and acknowledged
That you was close to your last breath
Like the moment of revelation
That Jesus met in the Book of Mark
When He reached the Garden of Gethsemane
That end of the line millisecond of truth
Your last mile
If this was that minute
What would you do?
By Kenneth Reams
Is what a southern slave once considered
it to be...
The description of a negro
hanging and dangling
from the limb of a sycamore tree.
is what many labeled it to be.
A spirited tradition
That thousands came out to witness
The barbaric killing of a brother man
for the deed he committed against another man.
Lynching is what history would later
Acknowledge it to be.
Τhe Death Penalty
is the (code name)
that is mostly used to now describe the atrocity
while capital punishment
is what Black's Law Dictionary define it to be—
in this generation of new chemicals
and high technology.
to the naive,
just because they cannot see
strange fruit literally dangling from the tree
many have written off lynchings
as if they no longer exist in our society.
But I am the new era of strange fruit
“minus the sycamore tree"
and if you open your eyes
This reality you will see.
|Kenny Reams 000927|
P.O. Box 400
Grady, AR 71644
Kenneth Reams is a death row inmate in the State of Arkansas and founder of the non-profit organization Who Decides, Inc. If you wish to learn more about the organization's mission and goal, visit www.whodecidesinc.org.