Duane Townsend

Black Agenda Report - May 27, 2020

How I wish I could sing her name 
like Brother Ray or ‘Ree—
‘Cause Breonna Taylor’s real close 
to Bryana Turner to me

I wish I could sing her name 
like Abbey, Nina, or Big Paul—
Celebrating  the sunny
June home birth I recall…

I wish I could sing her name 
like Mahalia or Clara Ward—
Feeling my hand again
cutting an umbilical cord

I wish I could sing her name 
like Sarah or Natalie Cole—
But, the recorder reminds 
me that that’s not my role…

I wish I could sing her name 
like Lil’ Richard or Betty Wright—
Hearing Mingus’s ‘Haitian’ song 
that urges me to “Fight!”

I wish I could sing her name 
and other names, other towns—
Galvanizing Black Folks—and
fifty million John Browns…

© 2020. Raymond Nat Turner, The Town Crier. All Rights Reserved.

BAR’s poet in residence Raymond Nat Turner is an accomplished performing artist. You can find much more of his work at.

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