Black Boy Bang (BOP) Micaela Shambee


This poem uses the popular line from Billie Holiday’s hauntingly beautiful song “Strange Fruit.”  The refrain, “Strange fruit hanging from poplar trees,” is as true today, as it was in 1939.


Photo Credit: American Song Book

Black Boy Bang

By: Micaela Shambee


I inhale morning fresh dew,

As another headline flashes across the screen.

Peering out the poverty stricken window

With coffee in hand, devoid of any fancy hazelnut cream.

Stands an ethereal presence by a familiar family tree.

As the TV blares, a voice hauntingly sings


Strange fruit hanging from poplar trees


News crying like gossip during double Dutch.

Avalanche, quake, riots; Baltimore is on fire!

Red, white, blue; by evening your country will hang you!

Tasers and clubs by the strong arm of the protect and serve.

Familiar flanked skin,

Different names blowing in the hot wind.

But all the same, Martin, Dunn, and Gray

Is another black, boy, bang.


Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.


By daybreak there, still I see

Black lives like dead leaves scattered amongst poplar trees,

Dead leaves lying like precisely ordered deaths.

Casket filled black bodies with dark, burnished flesh.

As the blowing air hums with death’s cries,

Protect and serve preserves white pride.
Strange fruit hanging from poplar trees.


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