Thursday, September 09, 2010

Ebony Heroes

Nkosi Johnson - South African AIDS Advocate, he died of the disease at the age of 12

Ebony Heroes

Mandela, what did you touch, tact,
tack, touch in prison all those years?

Biko our skin is slightly lighter
in our history’s memory than in our mirror. 

Excuse me?  What language do, or did, you speak?
The one we still refuse to acknowledge:  trust,

the mirage we call the root of culture.  The one
we defend with loud slogans when our knees stop shaking.

Biko, what did you touch, tact,
tact, touch as they cracked your head open in detention?

My Mexican brother touched a bat
while walking back home from work. 

You ask:  Where are their prisons,
their torture chambers?  I answer: on our streets.

Nkosi, what did you touch, tact
tact, touch before you died of AIDS?

Where was your fear at twelve?
Why didn’t you walk away?

They call themselves Old Christians yet spoor
the touch, the tack, of ebony heroes that show us the way. 

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