My father worked on assembly lines in Detroit while I was growing up. Every day, I watched him do what he needed to do to support the family. But he told me, ‘Life is short. Do what you want to do.’ — Anita Baker

“Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans. What white Americans have never fully understood–but what the Negro can never forget–is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.”– Kerner Report, 1968

On the idle hill of summer,
Sleepy with the flow of streams,
Far I hear the steady drummer
Drumming like a noise in dreams.

Far and near and low and louder
On the roads of earth go by,
Dear to friends and food for powder,
Soldiers marching, all to die.

East and west on fields forgotten
Bleach the bones of comrades slain,
Lovely lads and dead and rotten;
None that go return again.

Far the calling bugles hollo,
High the screaming fife replies,
Gay the files of scarlet follow:
Woman bore me, I will rise.

–A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad

For a time I flinched whenever a human approached. The feet would stop but the top might timber onto me. I still doubt the stability of the species. –Verlyn Klinkenborg, Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile