By Barbara Baum Levine
With respect and gratitude to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, whose lyrical poetry and music continues to enlighten our perspectives.
Hello, black folks, my dear friends,
I’ve come to shoot you down again
So racism keeps on creeping
Into a country if it’s sleeping
And the vision of police are planted in my brain
And there they remain
As most of us stay silent.
In sleepless nights of CNN
We watch streets of angry men.
‘Neath the visor of a COVID mask
They turn away from the CS gas
And they fall from the flash of rubber bullets’ flight
That split the night
Yet most of us stay silent.
And in the naked light we saw
Ten million people – maybe more
People chanting I cannot breathe
People pleading Please believe
People saying our lives matter, don’t you care
But no one dares
Tear down that wall of silence.
Fools said we don’t yet know
Your silence like a cancer grows
Hear our words that we might teach you
Feel our pain that we might reach you
For too long our words like silent rain drops fell
And land in the abyss of silence.
And the people march and pray
And hope a new election may
Tear down the wall of silence.