28
Jul
14

Xes

The slogan of so many kids in my class was
“You wear your X and I’ll wear mine”
Despite the fact that we only had one black kid
And Jay wasn’t sporting Malcolm’s gear

I wanted to shake them, should have shook them
Should have shouted “It’s not! Your! X”
This was a northern state
This was a Quaker town
The Friends Church where my scout troop met
Had a little room with its own lock
Where they used to hide runagates
Every old house here has hidey holes
We were founded for the Underground Railroad
This town was the opposite
of your X

And when shots were fired on Sumter
So many Quakers set aside their peaceful ways
Stood up
Said “If I fight for anything it will be this”

These kids want pride so bad they’ll
Wring it from the rags of slavers
But not so bad they’ll crack a book
Not so bad they’ll look at themselves
Their houses
Their church
And see that they could have been proud of the right things

Growing up in a red state you fight or you break or you leave
And I fought until it was leave or break and I left

But the Xes stayed.
As my years on the Brain Game turn to years spent as brain drain
I go back to my old high school
And they’ve put up a shiny new main street
They tore down all the old Quaker houses
Tore down that holy place with its hidey hole
Tore down all our history
Tore down a place where the people stood up

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