You tell me to strip and to hide my shame,
I try not to notice that you are standing there.
You point out my distinguishing marks.
I cannot look at you and so at the wall, I stare.
You make a note of the tattoo on my right shoulder.
And now, I am to squat, spread my cheeks and cough.
Stripped bare of my clothing and of my dignity.
the last vestiges of my humanity has been castoff.
I stand naked and bewildered in the new slave market,
and I wait for the punishment that I know is in store.
For Massa is an evil and twisted bastard without a heart.
To him, I have always been an animal and I can’t even the score.
Herded to the showers, how can I ever become clean again?
No hope of a reprieve for I am handed over to my enemy.
Where is my salvation and where is the white man’s god?
But I am no longer a man, a number is now my identity.
When will the laws of the white man be applied to him?
I look out and see a sea of faces with complexions like mine.
How is it that all of us are bad and hid away from society?
Why hate me because I am not like you, pink like swine?
Stare at my nakedness and still I am clothed by melanin.
Try and shame me if you will but your nakedness is a blight
Your paleness defies the same sun that blessed me with beauty.
I stand before you in all my naked glory even in the harshest light.
You cannot destroy me though you try and whip me into subjugation.
I am a trial to you because I will not bend and break from torture.
As cruel as you are, I am the one who must pay in isolation.
But you will not strip my people of our true and beautiful culture.
Live my people and flourish though I remain behind these bars.
Do not mingle with that which must destroy your freedom.
For only by destroying you will Massa feel he has power.
Never give in for one day, you shall rule your kingdom.
Shelby I. Courtland
©2014 Shelby I. Courtland