moaning oaks (prompt from class)


*** my big brah/mentor/fellow poet teaches an accelerated poetry class…since I am unable to attend, he told me this weeks’ assignment.


content is to be about lynchings between 1800-1900

no rhyming

remove ego (I, Me, My, references)

do not start lines with prepositions or conjunctions

so um, yeah that ish took a LONG time to write…here is my submission:

crimson was once only a shade of autumn leaves

then streaked over one hundred and fifty branches

bloody drops of hunted tears

dripped onto the ground

creating a cold calculating rhythm

because ice devils love to dance

backpedal from karma

stomp on skulls of the forcibly aborted after a short

“little cry”

listen to the ghosts of the moaning oaks

mourning a southern belle’s  muted clapper

ripped out by rape and mutilation

robbed of pleasure and purpose

cursing her femininity

plus shade of skin

multiplied by the 1900’s

equals exploited and expendable

disposable and damned

a man close to Jesus asked to be hung upside down

mrs. turner didn’t have a choice

couldn’t question it

the gasoline was poured over her

did she pick out baby names

the match was lit

did she say a prayer

crack a joke as she was riddled with bullets

the devils were laughing anyway

cackling like witches

listen to the ghosts of the moaning oaks

crooning lullabies to blessed babies

never born

never loved

who never clung to mama

were never sung to by pappy

who never knew happiness and freedom

were one

the same

all that remains of the unnamed angels

blood soaked bark

whose drops nourished

an already all too fertile

Spring soil

giving birth to over one hundred and fifty deadly stories

told by the ghosts of the moaning oaks


the wind cries mary

do you hear it


© michele mitchell, 2014

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