I used to love America we never said the USA
as a young seaman, it was the place to buy T. shirts, jeans
and white I never forget the name, Arrow shirts
the people full of optimism everything was possible
and the workers were relatively affluent.
the racial aspect never bothered us; we saw black workers
and white workers toiling on the harbour.
I was reading much back then and discovered I had lived
in a bubble.
In New Orleans, I came face to face with racism I hat
met an enormous black foreman he invited me to
the town centre the restaurant I liked he said we could
not go into, you see, they donīt want people of my colour.
OK, we went to a lesser place had a splendid meal
listened to jazz music.
He insisted following me to the ship, and I remember some
white shouting nigger lover. Onboard I read a novel by
James Baldwin, I didnīt sleep that night
Years later coming back to the USA, it had changed was
a more challenging place and there was on the radio,
about the peril of socialism and the need to go to war.
I was older now and self- educated, knew it was no point
arguing with people who had been brainwashed.