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.