Blue Fish
Red Fish

“It ain’t in effigy I wanna burn ’em
but in the flesh, real bones, covered in dark skins.
The papers didn’t give her name, jus said ‘a beautiful
young woman, cultured and of gentle bearing.’ For
sure she was white and raped. We wouldn’t stand for
that where I come from.“

That’s what my buddy said.
Maybe he’s right.

My own blood boiled seeing them
black boys right on top—on top, mind you—
of white girls.
Even on surf boards it still ain’t right,
skin on skin.
On the beach they’re laughin’
strummin’ ukuleles, singin’, smilin’,
oh, yes, smilin’.

And then those colored girls here
don’t act polite. You say hello, they look
right through you like you not even there.
At home no girl treated me that way.

This ain’t no dreamy Hawaii,
no joy zone. The movies lie.
Things ain’t right here. Color’ds
don’t know their place.

We heard the Admiral called them rapists,
sordid people, brutes and hoodlums.
Two of them are even from that orange race,
the one they say we gonna fight one day.

My buddy told me I jus had no guts because
I didn’t wanna go down to the jail to burn ’em.
Then he shoves the paper in my face, “Read those names.
Ida, Chang, Kahahawai, Takai, Ahakuelo.
What are they? Not American.“

Talk story

Leave one comment for Burned in Effigy