No on/off switch to history,
no dialectic of skin color when
Nina Simone begins to sing.
Staring into the camera,
into the white glare of all that
adoration sipping gin and tonics.
You can't bite off bitter words with a smile.
God damn Mississippi,
God damn the pistols in their purses and the whips in their high ball glasses,
God damn Bull Connor and his tobacco spit eyes,
God damn the Irish brats and their bourbon daddy,
God damn singing through a scar and calling it working the room.
David Thornbrugh is a Seattle-based poet who grabs poems as they come to him, though the process involves putting himself in situations where that is more likely to happen than otherwise. Forty years on, he is still searching for that elusive spot.