Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016



in Obituaries/U.S. by

Biblical rain falls upon Baltimore, city of marble steps
Washed clean once again with the people’s tears
City of Poe and Du Bois, of Gertrude Stein, Upton Sinclair
Cab Calloway and Tupac, Thurgood Marshall and Billie Holiday
City of Frederick Douglass: My Bondage, My Freedom
And Elijah, son of sharecroppers, your voice still
Resonating in memory, how when you spoke your truths
Your words held all the pain the black people brought with them
In their lost languages from the places where they once knew freedom
How when you held the bullhorn and pleaded for calm for Freddie Gray
You made him not just another young black man, dead in police custody,
But a person with a story, a stolen future, and still there was no justice
And yet you persisted, giving your last hours to the next cause and the next:
Ones you knew would be your last.

Your words: “We have got to get back to normal!” after Michael Cohen
Told his story of fixing and cheating, the details now buried under
More stories of betrayal and self-dealing, more layers of deceit,
Yours were the words we too were whispering and shouting and praying for,
And yet to hear them resonate from the dais, your beautiful face a portrait
Of long suffering and fatigue without surrender, we remember them today
How your eyes hooded in illness shone bright as you rose to defend
The city of your birth, the weariness of a people, their city maligned
By a man with no moral compass, how when you spoke, it was not
About your own outrage, but how you turned that moment into hope,
For hope is everlasting, a gift to children yet unborn, children of Baltimore,
Children of America, children of Earth: who mourn today
Elijah: #Rest in Power.



Yvonne Daley is a career journalist who returned to poetry for sanity in these difficult times. She lives in Vermont, still a sane place.


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