A Black man sits with his eyes closed listening to the radio, picturing a gospel choir singing.
Brittany Thornton

Playing with buttons 
on the radio 
one station then another 
of F.M. 
A gospel station 
a choir, a beautiful rendition 
of an old gospel song, 
then another. 
I realize this is a new station 
young radio announcers. 
Another choir, I feel like it’s 
just what I needed, 
salvation, redemption, mercy 
grace, holiness, praise, psalms, 
glory, dispensation, that 
God shapes space coming alive. 
The next day I tune in 
there’s a commentary 
some group stole the election. 
The problem with Black people. 
Standing up for America, love America 
straight outta self righteous Memphis 
My insides sort of crumble 
a disappointment in discouragement 
a repeat of history in the making 
state rights, the reinstitution of slavery 
birth of the Klan, birth of a nation 
the Dead Scott Decision 
the Black Codes, Jim Crow 
the crowds gathered to 
witness the lynchings 
and the next day attend 
a prayer meeting, church service. 

Charles Blackwell is a nationally and internationally published poet who lives in Oakland.