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.