WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?

yonel pierre 1959 (Petion-Ville)



WHAT WOULD YOU
      HAVE DONE?


Just because you refused to call me “Sir”
From behind,
Would you have jumped in front of me
On a running train and demand that I stop
And pay the fare before taking my sit
In the next car?

Would you have slammed shut the door with your foot
And embarrass me in front of total strangers,
Just because you refused to call me “Sir”
From behind?

Would you have threatened me with a stern look
As if I were a dangerous criminal,
As you blocked the doorway with your huge body
In a crisp light and dark blue uniform and
Pristine military-like headpiece
That reminded me
Of the old Haitian paramilitary force
And would not move until
You saw my badge and my monthly pass,
Just because you refused to call me “Sir”
From behind?

Would you have followed me,
As I walked between cars
To go to the next one to sit down,
Had I looked white
From behind?

Would you not have shouted:
“Excuse me Sir!”
If you noticed that
I was wearing a white shirt and a necktie
From behind?

Had you have a gun in your hand,
Would you have shot me dead,
Thinking that I was just another black man,
When you could not identify me clearly
From behind?

Would you have called me a few racist names,
If you did not discover that
I was an officer of the law
And that other commuters witnessed the incident,
After you profiled me
From behind?

What if I didn’t have a seating ticket?
What if I didn’t have a badge?
What if…?
What would you have done?




Yonel Pierre – 10/23/2014

About this poem

Personal experience

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Written on October 23, 2014

Submitted by pierreroni on January 20, 2022

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:35 min read
8

Quick analysis:

Scheme xa BCdxxx xeBC xxdxedxxxBC dxxxC xbfxC xxxdC xfxxdC xxxa x
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,505
Words 319
Stanzas 10
Stanza Lengths 2, 6, 4, 11, 5, 5, 5, 6, 4, 1

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