How Many times...?
They marched in silence
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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