A Poem for Black Relocation Centers

Etheridge Knight

Flukum couldn't stand the strain. Flukum
wanted inner and outer order, so
he joined the anny where U. S. Manuals made
everything plain-even how to button his shirt,
and how to kill yellow men. (If Flukum
ever felt hurt or doubt about who his enemy
was, the Troop Infonnation Officer or the Stars
and Stripes straightened him out.)
And, we must not forget
that Flukum was paid well to let the Red
Blood. And sin? If Flukum ever thought about sin
or Hell for squashing the yellow men, the good Chaplain
( Holy by God and by Congress) pOinted out with
Devilish skill that to kill the colored men was not
altogether a sin.

Flukum marched back from the war, straight and tall,
and with presents for all: a water pipe for daddy,
teeny teacups for mama, sheer silk for tittee, and
a jade inlaid dagger for me. But, with a smile
on his face in a place just across the bay,
Flukum, the patriot, got shot that same day,
got shot in his great wide chest, bedecked with good
conduct ribbons. He died surprised, he had thought
the enemy far away on the other side of the sea.

The Essential Etheridge Knight

Last updated May 16, 2023