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Clifton Redmond

(7-4-1982 / Carlow)

The burden of hate

It’s that split second after
when his dark skin is pointed out
when the sniggers and the jeers
are more than just banter.

He too hates that skin
that singles him out
the obsidian cloak
that god cursed him with.

But he has learned their hate
wishing his bones away
dreaming he’d wake up
from a white man’s nightmare.

Rubbing his head he’d laugh
at the damned unwanted life
he felt no man should ask for
being judged before we speak.

But when he dares to look
into the taunting mirror
at his tight curls
he wishes were a noose.

I hear them laughing
at his paled hands
“you tried to scrape it off
they say it with a snigger”.

And he tightens them
into an angry silent fist
with the pumped veins growing
like roots of crawling ivy.

I watch them swim in ignorance
taunting him, mocking him
each snide remark
a jagged little blade.

Tearing him down
piece by piece
he is always outnumbered
and not one of us stands in.

And still I watch in shame
a voyeur with no tongue
feeling his grief
but never speaking.

Deep inside his eyes
i know his hope is dying
the beaten down man
his head left hanging.

With hatred surely growing
seeping deep into his soul
he longs for them to see
that our blood is all the same.

Submitted: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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