In this divide externally imposed,
Upon virtues and values an attack,
When independent thinking is foreclosed,
If I must make a choice, I will be black.
Terms of exclusion and of exploitation
Announce themselves explicitly, and lack
Veneer of subterfuge in peroration—
A choice is being called for, white or black.
In this industrialized economy,
When ownership takes off the worker’s back
Its capital (and then withheld from me
And others of the poor), I will be black.
Lord, wealthy Christians oft invoke thy name
Even as they compounding ingots stack
Before idols of commerce with no shame
Invoking Jesus—Lord, I will be black.
The bondman had to work beneath the lash,
Blood drawn on like a check, his home a shack
In which a member might be sold for cash,
Enforced disfigurement—I will be black.
Given a moral choice, the terms imposed
Offer two roads: the first a cul-de-sac,
An endless loop psychosis diagnosed,
Or forward moving, singing, “I am black.”