Urban Voices

A place for emerging urban Christian poets to be heard

May 25, 2007

On Being Black in America

by Julian Michael

I am a happy darkie
I laugh and sing and play
It seems that no one hears me
When I have things to say

My hair is neatly matted
My face, distinctly brown
But no one seems to see me
When I walk through the town

I am the son of Sheba
Who wisely found her man
Who fathered us – the chosen,
The Lost Tribe, African

Who, once, was bound in shackles
And now is somewhat free
I walk along with brothers
That no one seems to see

Am I to blame for warring
For poverty, for flight?
Is black somehow unholy –
the opposite of white?

Am I to blame for terror,
For bombings and for raids?
What is the cost to Mother
To share the cure for AIDS?

What is the cost to Sister
To stop the men from rape?
She once was proud with diamonds
And now she seeks escape

And what of all my brothers
Who sell themselves for bread?
Within the veil they’re living
Beyond it, they are dead

And who will eulogize them
And sermonize their years?
And who will comfort Mother
And who, dry Sister’s tears?

I want to tell my neighbor
About my Family’s woe
I need for him to help me
I need for him to know

But when I reach his doorstep
This veil gets in the way
I’ve turned my back on Mother.
I laugh and sing and play

And this is why my neighbor
Has failed to empathize
My laughing ways are drowning
My Sister’s funeral cries.

I am a happy darkie
Invisible and brown
It seems that no one sees me
When I walk through the town

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About this week's author:

Julian says: I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, and consider the inner city to be a big part of my experience. I decided to try something entirely different and headed for Amherst College in Massachusetts for my undergrad work, completing a degree in Religion. In my current life, I work as a college counselor at a prep school outside of D.C. I remain very much connected to God, to the plight of those in the inner city, and to the various artistic forms that sprout up from those roots. Feel free to send me an email: I always enjoy the opportunity to share my personal story with other people and to learn from what others have to teach. God bless.

email Julian Michael

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Urban Voices Archive

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Urban Voices' purpose is to showcase the work of emerging poets who write about issues of urban life, racial identity, reconciliation and similar themes from a Christian perspective. If you have poetry you would like to submit for possible inclusion on this site, you may send it to info@urban-verses.com. Thanks for reading and writing!