Three Poems by Revonne Johnson

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When the Hat Went Up
Remembering the Montgomery, Alabama, Riverfront brawl.

When the hat went up on the dock in Alabama
ancestors of slaves fought back.
When the hat went up, we fought years of disrespect, disenfranchisement,
and demonization.
When the hat went up, we backed up, and stood up with our heads up cause
we were fed up
When the hat when up, we defended a brother doing what was expected—
his job.
When the hat went up, oppressors watched their greatest fear—retaliation
and condemnation.
When the hat went up, our ancestors cheered our courage and our choice.
When the hat went up, our communities celebrated unity with an unspoken
understanding.
When the hat went up, there was pride and vindication—for just a brief
moment.
When the hat went up, we were simply asking for what we were due, for what
we have always wanted . . .
freedom & respect
life without physical & psychological chains
and an even playing field.
When the hat went up, we did not sit still and endure their wrath. We fought.
We swam. We swung.
When the hat went up . . .
We had hope.


We Grow Tired

Dear Lady Justice,
We grow tired.
We say
We grow tired of waiting.
We grow tired of the acquittals and the dismissals
by a judicial that is obviously prejudicial towards
those who are poor, innocent, and black.

Too many jurors, judges,
prosecutors, and prisons
have gotten the verdict wrong.
Too many times you have
altered your scales
to damn the innocent irreversibly,
just so that the Haves can retain
what they do not often deserve;
just so that the Haves can protect
those who often are not worthy.

We grow tired.
We say . . .
We grow tired of waiting.
We grow tired of the acquittals and the dismissals
by a judicial that is obviously prejudicial towards
those who are poor, innocent, and black.

We know that you were built to contain
the helpless, the powerless,
the blackish, and the brownish.
For your actions are not broken.
They are purposeful, intentional, and detrimental
to the innocent
whose cries for freedom are excruciating.
For you contentiously free white birds
while concurrently caging black birds
with no guilt.

We want justice
We say . . .
We want justice
for those unfairly slain
by strangers wielding weapons
without just cause;
by strangers wielding weapons
just because.

We grow tired.
We say . . .
We grow tired of waiting.

The Black Community
Our Reason
Golden Shovel poetic form using the first verse
from Audre Lorde’s poem, "Echoes."

Why can’t there
be a celebration that is
just for me? I want a
woman’s voice with the timbre
of Whitney to be proof
that my voice
is worthy and that
truth comes
often from
those not
included because being
dismissed and not heard
is hurtful and
not knowing

that you
definitely are
more than you are not
that just being
recognized and heard

is being noticed
by not only
your baby
but others

who are not
as open to being heard
from someone like me. My voice is for
all Black women because all the
women like me want the same
thing—respect. So we ask for this reason.

Revonne Johnson is a wife, mother, tech professional, and poet. Her most recent works focus on Black women, including a book of poems about the unique struggles of Black women and the politics of the day. This collection is dedicated to her mother who passed away in 2018. The poetry series title is “Dear Black Woman,” and there are currently five separate poetry books in this series. For more information visit www.revonnejohnsonbooks.com.

Feature Image: “Lady Justice” by Jason Jacobs from Hawaii under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license from Wiki Commons.

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