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The Noise This Evening: a Four Part Poetry/Photo Essay on the 2020 LA Uprisings (Part III)

Hand me a flower, and I'll hand you the blues.

HAND ME A FLOWER, AND I’LL HAND YOU THE BLUES (July)

by M.G. Hughes

Hand me a flower and

I’ll hand you the blues.

Hand me a flower and

I’ll tell you the story of

How my grandmother’s brother

Was killed by the KKK after

Word spread that our family discovered oil on our farm.

How a man by the name of Private Charles Lewis

Who, in 1940, was lynched in Kentucky after refusing

To empty his own pockets while wearing his Army uniform.

Hand me a flower and

I’ll hand you the blues.

Hand me a flower and

I’ll return you an entire century of

The weight of the Black bodies, like Will Brown,

Who was beaten and hanged from a telegraph post

All before his burning body was dragged through the street.

The sound of an entire town called Rosewood which, in 1923,

Was gutted out and burned to the ground by White mobs after

A man named Jesse Hunter was framed for assaulting a White woman.

Hand me a flower and

I’ll tell you this.

Hand me a flower and

I’ll tell you this without flinching:

When they say America has come a long way

They really mean the American people have walked another inch



If you enjoyed this piece, please consider donating to M.G. on Venmo @mghughesauthor.

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