Mind Chatter: For Rosa Parks

74aba941d67dc254       from I Am Black America: New and Selected Poems

Her name: Rosa Parks

The day: one

The year: 1955

The month: December

The place: Montgomery, Alabama

 

Rosa: she tired she say

She tired when she board the bus

Walked down the center aisle—tired,

Sat (in the first of the last ten pairs of seats)

Tired.

 

Fable Go:

Black folks couldn’t ride up front

Black folks seats in back of the bus

They just like bugs

Sit ‘em in the back of the bus, so

Tired, tired Rosa—she sit down in the back of the bus

 

Bus got crowded

Driver tell black folks sitting

In the first of the last ten pairs of seats

To stand—“make it light on yourselves—stand!”

 

Rosa ain’t stand

(ain’t make it light)

 

Fable go:

King say:

“Rosa Parks anchored [anchored]

by accumulated indignities of

days gone by, the boundless

aspirations of generations yet unborn.”

 

King say:

“Rosa Parks a victim (a victim)

of the forces of destiny.”

 

King say:

“When the cup of endurance runs over,

The human personality cries out.”

 

Rosa Parks, she cry out, she cry

For the black African brought on

A slave ship—packed like

sardines in stale water

She cry, she cry out so

I can sit on the bus

She cry; she get arrested

She get fingerprinted

She quiet

 

Fable go:

I’m just a poor. . . stranger

Traveling through this world of woe

 

Rosa Parks tired; black folks tired

She found guilty on 5 December 1955

Black folks tired; they start the boycott

Cause they tired

My mama tired, too

She in the boycott

Yo mama tired, too

She in the boycott

Yo mama, yo daddy in it, too

They walk. They don’t catch the bus

They crawl; they don’t catch the bus

They walk. For over a year;

They go to court, keep

Going to court.

The court get some sense

 

Fable go:

June 1956 Montgomery Court say:

Back of the bus sitting for black folk ain’t right.

November 1956 Untied States Supreme Court say:

Back of bus sitting for black folk ain’t right

 

Rosa Parks stopped walking

Black folks stopped walking

White folks stopped walking, too

 

Rosa Parks get some rest

Black folks get some rest

White folks—they get some rest, too

 

 

 

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