CHAINSBy Herman Bell

Wrist-chains, waiste-chains, ankle-chains, shackles;

Chain-gangs: wooly-haired, black-faced bumblebees shuffling in chains, grading dirt roads, hacking weeds in ditches as pale-face men, tall sticks in hand, sit on horseback looking on.

Chains - the sound of chains; never-forgotten-chains. Perhaps they harken back to the day on the Goodship Jeasus, wherein the dark of night Capt. John Hawkins, slave-ship runner, piloted stolen bodies across the dreaded Middle-Passage, on back to tobacco fields in Virginia before Kunta Kunte morphed into Toby.

Bondage is a terrible thing to behold -

Cellgates open; flashes of the past chained to measured steps of the present; walking eyes take in men paired-off in cell tanks, standing for inspection: contraband, insolence, rabbit in their feet; for evidence of willing compliance. Tank-after-tank all to see. Can the men see looking out at what is seen looking in?

Control of another is a terrible thing to behold, mass control far worse. But the resilient spirit endures forever.


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