How Many times...?


They marched in silence

Holding candlelight,

In remembrance of a person gunned down 

Past the previous night.

Then one of them stepped forward

and uttered, "This brother had a lot to offer.

Sadly, they succeeded his life abruptly to smoulder.

But grieve not for this leader,

At least in peace he has finally gone forever.

We ought to feel sorry for ourselves,

In these uncertain skies guarded by hedonist vultures.

How many times do we individually die?"

And  in reply he retorted, "everyday and  the number is high.

In the streets, many times we get shot at,

By bigots they think we are no  more than a sewer  rat.


outrageously, instead, killed in the markets,

By those who ought to be gracious in taking our monies

for the products purchased in exchange.


Likewise,  we are  found dead in schools,

Immersed in our own  blood pools.

The culprits: the teachers and the head and the pupils,

Who have done the acts in cahoots,

And vaingloriously masquerading their trophies

As ceremonial and cool.


In a work place, this race  fares no better.

We are burnt at the stake.


How many times does a black person cry,

When he sees his own self repeatedly die,

Before God  bids him  the final goodbye?

How many time can a person  choose to live, 

Simply everyday to die,

Before he  finally decides to brave 

And mortally dies so as to remain alive?

Copyright Haileselassie Girmay


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