Lay for the Day 9th
1957: a new Civil Rights Act passes into law in the United States, the
first legislation on this issue for 82 years. Its predecessor, the Civil
Rights Act of 1875, had required equal provision for blacks and whites
in public facilities, but this had quickly been perverted into a long-lasting
policy of segregation, defended under the rubric of separate but
equal treatment. The 1957 Act was actually pretty toothless, but
it marked the beginning of a new era.
previous part of The Blue Lion appears on 4th
September. The final part appears on 10th
Blue Lion part 3
The black snake moan
of the whip. Trenches
in the red clay.
A bloody arm
in a blue sleeve,
a muddy grey back
trampled in the advance,
trampled in the retreat.
Crimson splashes on the midnight blue lion.
The Delta Dogs brakeman
brings a copy of the Yellow Dog Blues.
The blue lions pupils
drop discs of black vinyl.
A black man with a diamond in his tooth
drives a big car, a Packard
which belongs to him.
His axe is in the back seat.
A white ignoramus calls him Boy!
The blue lion thinks of Africa.
He gets a job in Chicago,
In a Mellotone and Muggles,
breaks the mould.
He crosses the ocean by Cunard,
by the White Star Line.
Congratulations to the coloured band,
an audience with the King.
Meanwhile, rats, restlessness,
rancour, terror, hopelessness
of meanwhile being forever,
generations passing through
the fire to Moloch.
Sterno, murder, crack, misery,
the racist etcetera,
the ripping up of the future.
The blue lion thinks of a king in Africa.
And begins to resist.
And begins to register.
And begins with rhythm
to gain ground,
to be present beyond all exclusion.
Oh God that auction block
I thought began to shake and rattle.
I do believe the stone
shall rock and roll.
Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar