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05 April 2014 @ 08:29 pm
LJ Idol Season Nine: "Greensboro Woolworth's, 1960"  
Greensboro Woolworth's, 1960
lj idol season nine | week four | 157 words
“Nobody can ride your back if your back's not bent” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

We hear your words, your hatred,
Poisoned syllables striking our necks,
Like the hot, spittled breath of rabid dogs.

Yet, you call us animals.

Screaming as your throat runs raw,
You hurl names and anger to keep us down.
The shadows of burned houses and lynching trees
Rise up between us. The law counts for nothing.

We sit as tall and dignified as the kings
We deserve to be, or at least like men
Worthy of polite service, a place at the table.
We will not beg for what you never had to earn.

Others have been murdered, beaten. This we know,
But being forever afraid is halfway to dying.
Rosa Parks and the Little Rock Nine proved their bravery
For all the world to see. Now, so shall we.

To every angry word or threatening gesture,
We offer absolute resolve. We will not stoop
To your sorry level—your inhuman violence.

Yet, you call us animals.


-/-



If you enjoyed this poem, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

 
 
 
similiesslipsimiliesslip on April 6th, 2014 03:42 am (UTC)
Wow.

And yes, it is how you treat those you can choose to bully that defines your humanity (or lack there of.)

Great job. I wish I could write poetry like yours! This is very profound.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 6th, 2014 06:28 am (UTC)
Thank you!

The prompt took me to this moment in the Civil Rights' struggle fairly quickly. The strength of being unmoveable is very powerful, especially when you are in the right.
waltzmatildahwaltzmatildah on April 6th, 2014 05:18 am (UTC)
Such a powerful entry.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 6th, 2014 06:28 am (UTC)
Thank you very much. I'm glad you think so.
Desireex_disturbed_x on April 6th, 2014 12:02 pm (UTC)
I second that. I wish I could write poetry this well. This is very powerful.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 6th, 2014 07:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. This felt like the kind of thing that needed fewer words and not more, so as not to lessen the message.
elledangerelledanger on April 6th, 2014 12:59 pm (UTC)
This is a great read, with a really clear and powerful message. And I absolutely love the line; "We will not beg for what you never had to earn."
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 6th, 2014 11:12 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you noticed that line-- to me, it summed up so much of the Civil Rights' movement. It was a long, hard struggle for an equality that included a basic human decency others were simply _given_.
cindytsuki_no_bara on April 6th, 2014 02:48 pm (UTC)
this is really, really good. short and powerful.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 6th, 2014 11:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Dan: Peregrinemuchtooarrogant on April 6th, 2014 03:54 pm (UTC)
I really liked the refrain you used here. It was a perfect match for the description of the haters this movement struggled against. Well done!

Dan
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 7th, 2014 12:43 am (UTC)
I almost never use a refrain, but it really drove the direction of the poem here-- for exactly the reason you mentioned.

Thanks for reading!
(no subject) - muchtooarrogant on April 7th, 2014 12:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatrebleodswean on April 6th, 2014 04:28 pm (UTC)
Wow! This is a really strong and literal take on the prompt and it works perfectly.

This line - The law counts for nothing. is fantastic. And this - We will not beg for what you never had to earn. say so much economically. Of course!!!

Great work here.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 7th, 2014 12:57 am (UTC)
When I saw that quote, I knew exactly what it meant, and after thinking about it... I decided I had to write that. It was such an important time, and should not be forgotten!
(no subject) - bleodswean on April 7th, 2014 01:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on April 7th, 2014 06:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
lexybackohelectricshock on April 6th, 2014 04:41 pm (UTC)
LOVED this. This is so powerful, it hit me like a punch to the chest.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 7th, 2014 06:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was hoping it would really put people in the moment, and make them feel the strength of the narrator.
adoptedwriteradoptedwriter on April 6th, 2014 04:44 pm (UTC)
So powerful. Lovely writing. AW
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 7th, 2014 06:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!
Es'kaeska818 on April 6th, 2014 05:05 pm (UTC)
Lovely, well-written. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 7th, 2014 06:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm so glad you liked it. :)
Maerhys: pic#123058984maerhys on April 6th, 2014 05:25 pm (UTC)
This is super powerful and lovely.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 7th, 2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it. It was too important a subject not to try to work with!
Direst Ryl: Two Girls with Oleanderryl on April 6th, 2014 07:38 pm (UTC)
The old Woolworth's in Asheville NC has been preserved. Most of it is an art gallery now, but they kept the lunch counter going. Whenever I go there I make a point of sitting at the counter in memory of the Greensboro sit-ins.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 7th, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
I saw, via Wikipedia, that it had become a museum-like display.

To current generations, it must seem like such a small thing to demand. But the fact that it HAD to be demanded (because the basic decency would not be granted on its own), and that tempers were high enough that the protesters could have been killed or seriously injured for daring to make that statement... all of that shows what a watershed moment in history that was.
brigid_tannerbrigid_tanner on April 6th, 2014 10:57 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. Totally captures those moments of the sit-ins when people were shouting and spitting at the protesters.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 7th, 2014 11:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much-- and for stopping by, too!
rayasorayaso on April 6th, 2014 10:59 pm (UTC)
Remarkable! I love your poetry. This was a very difficult subject to address in verse. The imagery is wonderful, and the poem builds to the concluding line, which hits hard to finish off the poem.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 8th, 2014 06:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Some things are too important to leave unsaid, even if it's just to reinforce what this period in history meant and how hard those victories were to earn.
penpusherpenpusher on April 6th, 2014 11:14 pm (UTC)
So brilliant and powerful. Great.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 8th, 2014 06:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!