slaves for sale: auction today

Authors note: As a writer and a poet I believe I have an obligation to bring light into the dark corners of human existence. I do not and will not ever accept the dominion of evil over the goodness that is possible when people refuse to accept hopelessness. Please visit d’Verse Open Link Night for more poets at the pub.

“The Middle Passage remains a stain upon the waters”

to see, to touch the past, is, unfortunately
even a headstone
a shackle, a slave cabin upon the fertile soil of the Delta does
does not reach out and throttle the now
a picture, of an ancestor, a stern slave holder
who raped your great-great-great grandmother
that, that creates a churning acid reaction, all the
more potent
for being two centuries later
in the abstract, chickens and cows and Negroes
as property,
tabulated economics fueling westward expansion
labor needed here
laborers, in abundance here
being Africa, there
being the Americas,
both North and South of the equatorial demarcation
and not all black skinned at that,
poor white indentured
slaves as well
demand -i.e. White planters and the Five Civilized Tribes in the South,
White merchants and whalers in the North
Iberian hidalgos, descendants of conquistadors
spread like molasses across a continent
they all met supply in the
warring Black rulers of Africa
the Arab traders shifting from local dhows to cargo
more profitable than
rum and sugar and ivory and gems
Dutch and English, American and Portuguese,
a trail of blood chumming the Triangular Trade,
French wine and Liberté
Highland wool and Spanish steel
all profited, all suffered
the records of Lloyd’s in London,
deeds of transfers scoured
seeking names not recorded
births not celebrated
marriages not sanctified
cultures destroyed and yet
out of the perished millions there arose
a pride in being black
being a victim, no longer enough
yes, this marks the resting place of a slave and
this is my ancestor, my family, my tragedy, my heritage
my land
my history
my right
my duty to look at the past and say that the
Middle Passage
never ended
never began
that slavery remains an ever present evil under heaven
in America
in India
in Thailand
in North Korea
in every single country
evil men and women
enslave others
while we blithely consume products made by slaves
and look away with disinterest


43 thoughts on “slaves for sale: auction today

  1. The past is so hard to bear but what is so hard to comprehend is that it still goes on in our cities and towns, where people profess to be civilised and humane. I have been reading about slavery in rich people’s homes in London, child slavery of different types, slavery of women who are traded for sex – when will it stop?


    • I don’t know Kim. There are slaves that pick our fruits and vegetables, catch our fish, make our toys and electronics. Sex slaves who are ‘rescued’ and then deported because they were brought illegally into a country. Buy local. Pressure men to stop buying sex. Humane policies toward victims instead of stigmatization.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so very powerful. Have you ever read To Be a Slave by Julius Lester? It is a powerful little book. It is a sad piece of history — and sadder that the remnants of it exist still, in reality, and in ways that try not to be seen. Thank you for posting.


  3. Very strong and courageous poetry, Brian. We need, as poets….to ‘talk truth to power’ and we also need to realize that slavery is alive and kicking in most parts of the world. I think of the Middle East, where women are traded like candy, sex slaves and this particular form of modern day slavery where girls as young as 9 or 10 are married off in arranged marriages in India, Pakistan, Africa, and the Middle East countries. What good dees it call a country to be ‘civilized when that flies in the face of reality? Here in Atlanta, there is (and has been for decades) a thriving sex trade of young girls…pimps of all cultures and a police force that looks the other way. I can’t do anything about slavery in the past, but I sure can write about its present day misery. Strong poem, Brian. Something we must not forget.


      • Yes, Brian. Slavery comes in many forms. it is horrifying to the human spirit. This issue of child sexual slavery is something that has gone on in Atlanta for at least 30 years to my knowledge. And far longer than I ever knew before. Atlanta calls itself an international city, but this is beyond the pale.


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