Strange Fruit, 2020

content warning: lynching, police brutality

A man was lynched today
And like Strange Fruit
He swung in the breeze
But in the distance
A low baritone voice,
Strains I can’t breathe.
 

Your pale ears didn’t hear it,
Because you know peace.
But me? We?
We know no peace,
Because of police.

A man was lynched today,
And he looked a little like me.
A version of me that
Could be in my fate, my destiny…
A mini me.
A 10 years into the future,
A bundle of Brown joy,
A present.
A post 9 months gift
From the omnipresent.

 

A man was lynched today
But yesterday,
He was just a boy.
A son,
Playing with his toy… gun.

 

A man was lynched today
And my heart was cinched away.
Syrup slips from the trees
As his blood drips away.
This tree bears a strange fruit
As his oak skin begins to decay
A man was lynched today
Publicly was his
Body left for display.
His dignity,
His life,
Stripped away.
A man was lynched today
By police.

 

There is no federal law against lynching.
It is legal.
For plantation police,
To squeeze and trigger release rounds
On my Black body.

 

A man was lynched today,
And Billie Holiday
Sang this haunting song
In 1939.
It is 2020,
And a man was lynched today
Whose skin looked just like mine.


Watch & listen: Caitlin Leggett reads “Strange Fruit, 2020”

 

Read another of Caitlin’s poems, Fast,” on our blog here

Author’s Note: I wrote “Strange Fruit, 2020” during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests when a man was lynched. For weeks I had been carrying a sign that read “A man was lynched by police today” to pay homage to the many signs that were carried some 50 or so years ago. However, at the time, I meant it in a symbolic manner. The Black and brown bodies bleeding out in the street at the hands of racial injustice is a direct parallel to those who were lynched. Until it was 2020, and a man was lynched.

Caitlin Leggett is a spoken word poetry artist from Durham, NC. She has been published by Ghostheart Literary Journal, Oddball Magazine, The B’K Literary Journal, and Durham Magazine. More of her work can be seen on her online portfolio http://leggettwrites.weebly.com/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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