Friday, March 28, 2014

On a Cross-town Bus, a Time was when

We were busing time when trouble took us through white owned businesses
Fighting to make our voices felt, we were driven from one point to the other

Assembled in greater parts of America, for we had something to say,
We wanted to be heard, we were spit upon because of the color of our skin

So we rode in them buses, sat in groups singing, crying because we knew
We wanted a change, change was gonna come but we had to fight to change

We had to take our troubles to the streets, arm in arm, we built an army
A million men strong, we came from all corners of America, we had arrived
Our time was now, there was no one who was gonna stop us, not then

What a man am I, black African, sitting in the back of cross town buses
Watching the world with these eyes, imagined a man raped as I slept
Sat in a room of many men gambling, holed up for days on end

With these eyes, I see man made buildings, man made men, man made cars
The sun sweeps over them with a hint of sky, I see the color blue, light blue
So brightly lit, wishing I was by the ocean, I could be free from captivity

This blue and white carriage, trapped, I am one among many, destined
For we are arriving from where we have come, time is gonna get us there

Who are these creatures of man, some sitting, some standing, bags in hand
I am cornered, in this corner I sit, perhaps catching my breath like a boxer
I am broken, felt so much, wanted so much, damn if any one should stop me

Unlike a man, black skin, bald, bushy haired, rasta, I can talk to most people
I can share with words what most cannot say, here on this bus I have dared
Young white school girls, street wise Hispanicas, older white gentlemen

A heart so young with a troubled mind, they wear on me like wet sand
Waiters from Italy, who wish I join them for dinner, they beckon; what fun
Sitting in the middle of the bus on the toughest day, I find joy, memorable

A British family of five, finding friendship in me, if for a moment, we talk
What if anything do I have in common, I have fought off a man with blade
Worshiped by neighborhood boys who called me nice, I have been tested

Imagining day turn to night, sitting beside a woman head against the window
What would I say, she is beautiful, a professional, from a place so far away
On this guided path I have no mission, but to get home, a place to stay

We fought for our name on these buses, a time so long ago, we drove around
We were on our way, to places where we marched, sat at counters to protest

On this bus I gained fame, a free man, able to speak with pride among many
Those who never knew my name, but with a look in the eye they knew

What man sat before them, born of faith and wisdom, for I could see
As far as the bus would take me, I would arrive, new and free

Set foot on the pavement, walk along, my back facing
It is a ride lived moments at a time

Forgotten, until we hop on again
Sit with men of men, couples

Redeemed from when
We closed our eyes

Just to see how far
Our minds traveled

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