Poetry Corner: Running While Black

By Richard Wallace

Running while black

I heard this on the news

The announcer had it right

Big mistake

This young mans crime was

Running while black

It got this young man shot

Shot in the back

Killed for

Running while black


Standing while black

This is my take on it


A twelve year old boy

Plays in the park with friends

Proud of his plastic gun

The police roll up

No conversation

Three seconds later he’s dead

Standing while black


Being born while black

A life sentence

No chance of parole

No probation


Incarcerated-ized and brutalized

Segregated-ized and marginalized

Easily recognized

Being born while black


(c) Richard Wallace Armstrong, British Columbia, Canada 10 Feb. 2019

New York Times

New York Times

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1 reply »

  1. Richard – I hope this one is in your book, which I very much look forward to reading.

    I remember Lenny Henry ( British comedian) saying that he was very much aware, particularly in America, of people looking askance at him in the street, because…he’s a large black man.


    I’ve just re-read you poem, and….it could be by Gil Scott-Heron! Especially the last verse. Praise indeed.

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