(For Mike Brown, Lennon Lacy, Eric Garner, Renisha McBride, and so on, and so on ...)

they kilt that boy

lynched him

just as sho' as my name is what it is

they did it cause that's what they do in

kokomo Mississippi

kill folk

the same way they did

emmit till

in money mississippi

the same way they did

vernon dahamer

in hattiesburg mississippi

the same way they did

medgar evers

in jackson mississippi

the same damn way they did

schwerner, goodman and chaney in

philadelphia mississippi

the same way they did

mack charles parker

in poplarville mississippi

the same way they killed

andre jones

in a simpson county jail cell

hung him

like he was a skint pig

left to rot

under the watchful eye

of an old pale-faced devil's


down in mississippi


raynard ladell johnson

found death's cold hands

draped in swaddling

white sheets

wrapped around his teenage throat

choking the life from his virile black


as it swayed

in front of a flushed face

of a history so ugly

only a short ignorant-limp-dick


rebel-flag-waving-trailer-trash-talking redneck

could love it

mississippi is my home and

my home is a place

whose whiteness torments me

like an electric ghost in

the industrial machine of

dixiecratic politics

I know mississippi well


I love


I hate

mississippi so

much that every now & again

it hurts

it hurts

it hurts

yet we continue to march and sing and pray

for a land soaked in our innocent blood

when war cries

and battle hymns are needed

for this is a new song

for a new day

and a new time

our piece will not be said

in hushed apologetic tones

of slobbering uncle toms seeking reconciliation


this time we want justice

if not


we'll settle for revenge

Charlie R. Braxton is a poet, playwright and essayists from McComb Mississippi. He is the author of two volumes of verse, Ascension from the Ashes (Blackwood Press 1991) and Cinders Rekindled (Jawara Press 2013). His poetry has been published in various literary publications such as African American Review, The Minnesota Review, Drumvoices Review, Sepia Poetry Review, Cut Bank, Specter Magazine, and The San Fernando Poetry Journal.

[Image by Tara Jacoby]