I was the boy who hid in plain sight,
my outline blending with branches in tall Oklahoma oaks
watching the sunrise break on crisp mornings,
learning how I fit into the scheme of life.
A mother skunk, leading her kittens into the barn,
alert to sounds of intruders, knew I was there,
but dismissed me with a quick sniff,
as if I had no business being near the hawk’s nest.
the pigs ignored the skunk family as long as they stayed
on their own side of the wall as if it didn’t matter at all.
the chickens always made an uproar and called for help
if the skunks turned in their direction.
but in the mornings the skunks stayed tight,
checking for insects and mice, and it didn’t seem right
but I had plans for her this night.
we had to protect Billy and his family from a ghostly crew,
and I didn’t know what else to do, I had no gun,
wasn’t allowed to have one, because I might start a fight.
I had heard a group was coming to get Billy and his kin,
and they might never be seen again.
the skunks were my friends, but I set a trap and captured all three,
gave them water and food and waited until dusk
took the mother skunk out and into a gunny sack.
she wasn’t happy, as a matter of fact, but she calmed down,
my parents were off socializing at a pie supper,
and my sisters were telling stories before they went to bed,
I’ll be back in about an hour,” I finally said.
they eyed me with suspicion until I lied about playing kick the can.
Mother skunk and I made it safely without being seen.
I convinced Billy and his family to hide in the forest,
because I knew they would protect all they owned,
but somebody would die, either black or white,
and there would be a swarm of officers making things right.
but who was I to interfere, a world of hate was coming here.
three lights in the house were purposely left on,
and I wondered out loud, “Lord, what have I done?”
Six cars and trucks without lights started up the drive,
tomorrow the news might say, “There was a shooting! Nobody left alive!”
the cars lined up facing the house, men in sheets got out,
I could smell the gas as they prepared their torches,
I knew these men. earlier they sat on their porches,
drinking rye whiskey and gin,pretending to be civilized men.
they waited for the signal and to give the Dixie cry,
I thought it was time for me to slip away and let mother skunk fly.
I was behind them when I threw her into the air,
better than expected she landed on a car roof, angry and tired,
she sprayed all around, and the first inebriated man dropped his can to the ground. he screamed and ran spreading the flames, of course the torches and sheets got part of the blame, the middle car blew up, then right down the line,
a fiery wall of flames separating men from their escape,
some were sensible and rolled in the dirt, they were lucky to receive
second degree kinds of hurt. and mother skunk didn’t trust me for a long, long time, but Billy and his family are doing just fine.

The Skunk and the KKK

"White" and "Jim Crow" rai...
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I wasn’t sure if it was another dream,

It was so real I could hear Willie scream,

They were back again,

 Chasing me, chasing him,

Just because we were friends,

Sometimes Willie and I would meet,

Play basketball on the same dirt street,

But Willie was black and I was white,

It bothered those who were uptight,

They threatened to take it to the extreme,

I woke, glad this time it was only a dream,

As the sun crept over the mountains green,

I slid into my hand-me-down jeans,

Mindful of the cold, I buttoned my coat,

Looked down at my feet, they seemed remote,

Decided to go barefoot even on the rocks,

Rather than wearing wet shoes and socks,

I raced to the barn and checked the sow,

She would have her litter any time now,

But she was still big and round,

Lying in a thin layer of straw off the ground,

Wanting to watch her, a ladder I found,

In the barn’s side room I climbed to the top,

Positioned myself on a rafter so I would not drop,

Thinking the sow had no choice but to allow,

But a scratching noise distracted me now,

Dirt was pulled away, then a pointed black nose,

When two button eyes appeared, I froze,

Instant recognition that I was treed,

Until she left, there was no way I could be freed,

The skunk sniffed the air delicately to check for a threat,

She smiled, I’m sure she smiled, at my drops of sweat,

She went around the room searching twice,

She scurried away after finding no mice,

“Breakfast! Come and get it before I throw it away!”

Dad called out. “We’ve all got work to do today.”

My brothers and sisters did our assigned chores,

I left with Dad so he could work in the store,

But once in town I beelined it to see Willie,

This time with shoes, it was rather chilly,

We were going to sneak in a basketball game,

Knowing it was risky, we went there just the same,

There was but one gym in this town,

No one but whites, no black or brown,

We had saved money so we didn’t really sneak,

We just wanted to watch, just one peek,

Several teenagers met us at the door,

“What did you two come here for?”

“You know your kind ain’t allowed in this gym,”

He glared at me, “You’ll get the same as him,”

Willie and I took off like bats from hell,

I could hear the boys cursing when one of them fell,

“We know where you live. We’ll get you at night,”

We worried we were too small to put up much fight,

Willie came home with me after we told my dad,

He was calm and collected, but I knew he was mad,

A rifle and a shotgun were readily at hand,

He was ready and able to make a stand,

But I thought for awhile and came up with a plan,

“Dad, don’t worry, the Kwanokasha will help fight,

I’ll have strength to get through this night,”

Then using Choctaw ways that I’d been taught,

I rigged a box for that skunk to be caught,

She seemed to know I meant her no harm,

But I watched for signs she was alarmed,

Later that night three cars pulled into view,

We waited silently as the suspense grew,

Willie waited at the window as our lookout,

Dad at the door with guns ready to spout,

As silent as a shadow to the barn and back,

I returned with the box ready for an attack,

At the car, flasks were emptied as they drank,

Around them I circled until finally at their flank,

I crept closer to see why they would hesitate,

Gasoline soaked torches were to be our fate,

They donned white sheets and prepared to go,

Another example of the infamous Jim Crow,

They were lighting torches close to the cars,

Thinking they were the only ones under the stars,

They didn’t see me when I tossed the skunk,

It hit right in the middle of a trunk, “KERPLUNK!”

The skunk wasn’t too happy at this turn of events,

And doused four of those scheming gents,

They scattered quickly as the scent hit the air,

Their scheme interrupted but they didn’t care,

Ghostly figures ran stumbling into the woods,

But all of them had forgotten their flaming goods,

The gasoline they had carried became a bomb,

The cars exploded loudly, one by one by one,

Soon it was over and the night was calm,

But around town for the next few days,

Several sullen people glanced my way,

I’m glad no newspapers showed to get our views,

A  neighboring state grabbed all the news,

When a governor with a baseball bat,

Said , “No blacks can enter, and that is that,”

Times have changed but there are still punks,

One of these days, they might meet a skunk.

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