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met him by a bitter river
of shadows
black with the tears
of Scottsboro
and the sins of Dixie
red with the blood
of freedom

he sang a chorus
of revolution
in verse of jazz and blues
fifths and thirds
weary words of dream delusions
from the dark side
of Lenox Avenue

he swayed to a boogie beat
syncopated Billie rhythms
backlash blues
performed for fans
of Uncles Tom and Sam
at the Waldorf-Astoria
social league

met him in a long forgotten dream
of Harlem nights
madams and mules
wisdom and war
panthers and doves
and deferral

Grace Xanthos recnetly completed her M. A. in English Literature at California Polytechnic University, Pomona.
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Author:Xanthos, Grace
Publication:African American Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Dec 22, 2002
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