Their Blood Cries Out

from by Kicksville

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studio version, originally released 4/20/2007


Loving that part of the wide earth he was born on
though it was white man’s country and he black
each year he laid by a few dollars
from his sharecrop half of the cotton
he and his family eating light to do it
going ragged and barefoot even in the wintertime
till he got his own piece of this earth
bought from the county for back taxes
and they wrote his name down as owner
there on the big book in the Court House
at Liberty (meaning freedom)
Amite (meaning friendship) County

The white men who had owned the land
came after him then with bullwhips
to teach him this was white man’s country
and when the three of them had worn themselves out
stripping the meat from his back
he still was not dead and they figured he might talk
so they cut his tongue out with a switchblade

He died
and his blood soaked into the earth he was born on
the earth he had bought with his toil
and with his children’s hunger

Loving that part of the wide sea he was born on
though it was white man’s ocean and he black
he sailed it from a boy
fighting the rigging on the old four-masters
heaving coal down below on the freighters
standing watch at the wheel on the icy nights
while the years passed
and when the skipper cursed him for his color
or shipmates wouldn’t share his foc’sle for it
he set his teeth and said nothing
but saved every scrap of writing
that proved he’d shipped AB or fireman
and every nickel of his pay
for his folks ashore

One war he sailed through
and they never got him
though he was nine days in a lifeboat
and when the next war came
he was about ready to quit
having the house all paid for
and something put by to live on
but he was needed

It was dusk when the planes struck
and he was at the wheel
he just slumped and that was all
until the next day his corpse sewn in canvas
slid out from under the starry flag
into the wide sea he was born on

You ask me
what would I do if I were a black man?
and I keep thinking of these two
who died
one on land and one at sea

If I were a black man
I would swear the same oath I am swearing now
to avenge these men
and all the men like them and the women and children
white black yellow and brown
whose blood cries out for vengeance
all over the world

Being a black man would change nothing
the same men would be my brothers
for brothers are not known by the color of their skins
but by what is in their hearts
backed up by their deeds
and by their lives
when it comes to that


from Enter the Flavor Hut remasters+, released January 20, 2010


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