White Male
by Sean Taylor

I've studied and examined the
Culture and history of others,
Even imagined, or tried to imagine,
Myself in their places.
At times, I thought I could
Hear the cheers, smell sweet freedom,
"Free at last, free at last,
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."
The photograph is a still frame in my memory,
A Time memoir, a pictoral legacy, but
I never saw the hero crumble and fall,
Never felt the blood spatter on my shirt.
Though I can recreate the scenes like ancient newsreels,
They are empty, insubstantial, without the sensations
To make them my own --
If I am honest, I have to admit:
I've never felt the sting of a master's whip,
Cared for the yellow bastard children
My wife bore of a white man's curious lust, nor
Heard Jim Crow's disembodied voice
Assign me to a seat, or send me around the corner
To drink water from a colored fountain.

©1994 Sean Taylor