Tears well in my eyes as Strange Fruit's melody rings through my soul.

Men hanging from trees, I dreamed, were old stories told;

Stories from a past that we would never relive or witness again.

But now I realize standing below the bodies were children that grew to be men.

The haunting images that seem so old so surreal, are those of photos dating back a mere sixty years.

Desperate to believe it has been sixty years of progress and change,

I feel defeated by the reminder that it's been years of oppression, injustice, and outrage.

The eyes in the images haunting my mind and piercing my soul once belonged to children prideful of another's blood splattered on their clothes.

Now they belong to men who have abused power gained through wearing suits, badges, and robes.

Those children stood with bloody knuckles below men hanging from trees

Now they have blood on their hands by justifying children and men lying dead in the street.

So Billie Holiday and Nina Simone sang the blues of innocent blood on the leaves.

My generation sings the blues of innocent blood staining the streets.


You can listen to an audio version of this poem read by Patti Heying at this link.