Clothed Doggies

Take the blame and help as many as you can

Go ahead, take the hit, you won’t break

Your bank account won’t be shaken,

Your two or three vacations a year won’t be washed away

Several cars backed in your garage won’t be sitting on blocks

Those meals being sucked down at every restaurant, on every corner in Middletown America

Won’t dissipate

It’s a trip there was a line ten blocks long when POPEYES opened up,


Take the blame and help as many as you can

What difference does it make?

You trying to explain someone’s pain away

Does it make you feel better?

Does it add stature to your character?

Does it make you resolve the hurt behind their anger?

Take the blame and help as many as you can

Yeah it ain’t fair,

Like you researched, looked deep in your genealogy

Your people didn’t do no wrong

Never spewed an epithet

Never shook your head cause they ignorant, po, & black

Never hung nooses from no trees

Never owned no body

Never weighted the scales on a small crop of land

Never wrapped children in smallpox

Never poured out one for the native homies on soil rich in heritage

Never took over businesses of those forced away at camp

Never sprayed poison on lush green and brown fields

Never a trap Queen to a desolate inner city

Never denied a scholarship

Never stopped a hiring or instigated a firing

Never passed over a promotion

Never tossed a resume because of a sha, qua, la, apostrophe in a name

Never spit or screamed at poor little Ruby

Never let loose the dogs or the hoses

Never mocked a team’s religion

Never, Never, Never,

Dawg you right, you right

Yeah it ain’t fair, all your history is clean

And you’re sure of it

Got them papers from Henry Louis Gates

Finding Your Roots, yeah the whole kit

Take the blame and help as many as you can

Don’t be proud of backing them down

Don’t be quick to say your people wasn’t even around

There’s a privilege seen and unseen that empirically

Resounds when wrongs have been committed

Backs have been broken

Loves have been lost

Families, businesses, dreams have been destroyed

Not for black folk only, but so many folks

So many folk, so many, so many folks

“Oppressed Economy?” She laughed

The Cameroon elder watching over the braid shop

As I winced in the 7th hour of getting zillions

“You Americans put clothes on your doggies” With a billowy laugh she mocked

As if to really say,

“Yet you want no blame and not to help anybody.”

©Robin Mile’ Pizzo 2016

5/30 National Poetry Month


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