Going To Meet The Man

by Marcus Harris

He saw something familiar in that stride, that strut,
that made him raise the ebony eyes in
his bowed gray head, amusedly observing
the blind swagger of the youth who
sought to put the world on notice that
he not only intended to collect his piece of
the pie but was by no means
about to beg for it or
accept it in shame  .  .  .

He reminisced on when he had that stride, that strut,
and how they had joked that he looked like he
was “going to meet The Man,” the same ones who
sat with bowed heads on park benches (much like
the one he was on now), the same ones who
told different versions of the same story of when
they had each “met The Man” for
their piece of the pie:
each having choked on His homemade recipe of
oppression, degradation, and bias seasoned
with a dash or two of rejection,
each having gagged on countless shots served
from the same glass of humiliation with
crow as the chaser  .  .  .

He recalled when he had flaunted that stride, that strut,
straight to his own “meeting with The Man,” how
he knew he could stomach anything The Man had
to offer, how he knew it was all a game and
the others just didn’t have what it took to win -
that is,
until he finally realized that The Man always calls
the game according to the two-headed coin He
keeps shrewdly stashed in His hand and
it’s no coincidence that
He never calls “tails”  .  .  .

He watched as the newest owner of that stride, that strut,
blindly swaggered on the way to the same meeting
they each would have when he recognized the
chip fixed resolutely on the youth’s shoulder, remembering
that he used to have it, too -
a stubborn block of masculinity -
and remembering how his had fallen off
when it became too cumbersome to carry  .  .  .

Going To Meet The Man by Marcus Harris

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