A white man stands in a public square
and starts to make a “statement”
about Black people.
A Black man
gets right up in his face and roars
“No!” in a long, sustained note,
drowning him out
until the racist
gives up, shuts up.
That one Black man
struck the note for us.
Pick it up.
Harmonize. Riff. Compose inventions.
Take it off into a wild solo
then bring it back home
to that one word of collective resistance.
We are a vast choir of righteous voices.
If a few of us pause to breathe, it's all good.
The “No!”—like an “Om”—
until the world rings with it
like a great bell
February 12, 2017, Harlem, New York