echo: an autobiographical journey of the power of the ballot

                         this land is your land, this land is my land                         Woody Guthrie   this land of lies […]



this land is your land, this land is my land

                        Woody Guthrie


this land of lies and death march

seven votes shy of becoming home


for all freed africans. the founding

outlaws of oklahoma went to roosevelt


drunk on statehood. teddy said yes if no

jim crow. in november 1907 the forty-sixth.


by mid december, senate bill one, jane and

jim crow walk arm in arm down bitter


streets in tulsa, jackson, atlanta, new orleans

wichita, baltimore, little rock, st. louis,


charleston, dallas, louisville, memphis

selma. a legislated hate. a literacy test.


a poll tax. a photo ID. a nothing new. bull

connors’s grandkids meet at election integrity


group parties, slang for white citizen’s councils

drink tea with their whiskey, load guns.


we are at the pettus again & again & again &


we are a teacher unemployed for registering

students, we are the over employed weekend


voter, we are the solo mami’s & papi’s

who struggle with the machinery, not the process


we are we are two-thousand chicago

precinct judges answering a robo-call telling


them not to report for work. fraud is in the eye

of the beholder, that permanent marker of lines


we cannot see because they are clear. are we

medgar, mary, chaney, goodman, schwerner?


it is 1965. it is 2015. we are on the bridge.


(Image credit: 'Two-minute warning,' by IIP Photo Archive, via flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

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