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A Little Biographical Memory

Phil Woods: His face was full of lines aged in from a lifetime of wariness. He slept with one eye open. Growing up black in the Deep South will do that.

I met her father once.
He'd come up from Birmingham
after the church bombing
to be a Dean at DU.
He drove out to Commerce City--
the suburb next to the stinky
oil refineries
where half the fathers
were long haul truckers
& gone most of the time
to talk to my class
about the Civil Rights Movement.
His face was full of lines
aged in from a lifetime of wariness.
He slept with one eye open.
Growing up black in the Deep South
will do that.

condi rice

He said something like:
“Yes, we loved Martin;
we followed him,
but most of us
kept shot guns
under our beds.
You don't let people
shoot up your house
without a fight.”

Non-violence, yes, but
practical too.

His daughter
told The New Yorker
she owed the Movement
nothing.
All her success
was entirely
her own doing.
(I liked her father better.)

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Now Condi
gets $150,000
to tell college students
what the Civil Rights
Movement was all about.

She doesn't get
put on trial
like Goring
before his suicide
& her pal,
the football fan,
he's exhibiting his paintings
instead of wearing
an orange jump suit
for unspeakable crimes.

Such is life
in the last days
of the Republic.

Phil Woods