Bête Noir

Life ain’t all beer and skittles
for the white minstrel man
who hums ragtime tunes
and whistles the buckdancer’s choice
while he darkens his face
with boneblack
made of human charcoal.
Sometimes, just as he goes onstage,
the holy jimjams grabs him, shakes him loose
from his professional jollification,
and with a giant thumb and forefinger,
holds him dangling
over the dark mouth of the bête noir.

Last updated February 21, 2023