I’ve been washed clean by the Alabama rain.
Been baptized by the thick, blue smoke of papa’s cigar smoke.
I’ve patted red clay from the backyard on my wounds.

The soles of my feet have been coal black.
I met the Holy Ghost more times than I can count.
I can swing my finger any direction and it will point North.

It’s all apple pie and barbed wire.
Mason jars and molotovs.
Powder room white carpet bloodshed.

I’ve seen words of warning sewn into a hymn.
I’ve gripped cast iron tight till the sirens fell.
I’ve heard project bricks speak to me in tongues of fire.

And what I learned in Birmingham was to see blood before I yelp,
And to coat a “thank you” in thorns before I speak it,
And how to beat that ass from Selma to Montgomery with a smile.

A doily over a crowbar
won’t soften the blow.
Fuck with it if you want to.