There was once a little boy

His skin the color of chocolate

He picked listlessly at his ankles,

At the shackles holding them together.

He looked at the waiting ship yonder,

then at his mama standing by –

her cheeks glistening, eyes bright

Just like they always were.

He remembered his sister,

sauntering up to him

Her yellow bonnet flying

Curls drifting lazily by.

He remembered the lily-white soldier

tearing off her dress

While she laughed and skipped around,

Playing with his beard.

He remembered Samuel,

riding his father’s broad shoulders

Clutching tufts of hair tight in his fists.

The took his father away

Dumped rum over his head

It streamed down his shoulders

mixed with the blood – a beautiful, deep red,

Just like between his sister’s legs.

The ship got filled

Men on the deck,

Niggers in the hold

The lily-white man waved them across

His fist clamped around a girl’s ankle

Frothing at the mouth,

her eyes stared ahead –

He was sure she looked right at him,

before he tossed her away

‘Dead that one,’ he laughed, ‘not much profit in the dead ones!’

Why did the men hate the niggers?

He saw why, he didn’t like it either;

They stank of the toilets back home

Never combed their hair

Had skin in ribbons,

red hanging in between

He was going to grow up like that –

he didn’t like it one bit.

Not the niggers, nor the black-red skin.

He wanted lily-white skin

For himself, for his sister too

His mama wouldn’t take it –

How would she?

She never looked at him

Just stared at the sea.

He had five coins back home

He’d use it to buy lily-white skin

For himself, for everyone;

There would be no more niggers.


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