Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby

Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby

for all the Emmet Tills there have been, and that are yet to be.

Go to sleep you little babe (Go to sleep you little babe)
Go to sleep you little babe (Go to sleep you little babe)
Your mama’s gone away and your daddy’s gonna stay
Didn’t leave nobody but the baby

Go to sleep you little babe (Go to sleep you little babe)
Go to sleep you little babe (Go to sleep you little babe)
Everybody’s gone in the cotton and the corn
Didn’t leave nobody but the baby

You’re sweet, little babe (You’re sweet, little babe)
You’re sweet, little babe (You’re sweet, little babe)
Honey in the rock and the sugar don’t stop
Gonna’ bring a bottle to the baby

Don’t you, weep pretty babe (Don’t you, weep pretty babe)
Don’t you, weep pretty babe (Don’t you, weep pretty babe)
She’s long gone with her red shoes on
Gonna’ need another lovin’ baby

The song of the sirens, calling young men to their death. The scene in “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” where the beauties, Southern White women, temptresses all, call George Clooney and pals to their supposed death, or transformation, has been swirling around my head today. The haunting lyrics came to me as I was sitting for a friend’s child with a smile that always entices me to fall into her deep, bright eyes, came swimming up through the fog of a wet Seattle afternoon.

Go to sleep you little babe Go to sleep you little babe

The song of the sirens, calling young men to their death. This song is tricky. Got to be real careful around it. When I hear three-parts, each voice distinct, I too, am drawn in, suckered by the all too sweet sound that forces one to stop whatever they are doing and only pay attention to those voices, calling, needy as always, forcing me to wonder what they want, and that, that it the trick. If they make me wonder about them, then I am hooked, and I don’t want to wonder about them. I don’t want to think about them ever. Too much time has already been wasted on them, by them and for them. And they have never been worthy.

Go to sleep you little babe Go to sleep you little babe

The song of the sirens, calling young men to their death. On January 30, 2018, DaShawn Horne was beaten into a coma for going home with a white girl

You’re a sweet, little babe You’re a sweet, little babe

Honey in the rock and the sugar don’t stop

Gonna’ bring a bottle to the babe

The song of the sirens, calling young men to their death. Light-skinded young man this time. A twenty-six-year-old daddy, a child that he cared for and loved, looked forward to raising and seeing him become somebody. My bad, he was somebody. Friday night, you know, he went to a club to dance and have a good time, and he heard that call. She called him, alright. But unlike Odesyus he was not a hero of white literature. If DaShawn’s story is ever told, it won’t be in the form of an epic poem, for they don’t write them about brothers. Never have never will. But she called him alright, and he answered, they almost always do. How could he not? They are everything we all are told we want. She was a white woman, and who can resist?

Go to Sleep you little babe

Go to Sleep you little babe 

Your momma’s gone away and your daddy’s gonna stay

Didn’t leave nobody but the babe

The song of the sirens, calling young men to their death.That night, LaDonna Horne lost her son, not all the way like Emmet Till, but enough. Enough so that he is no longer recognizable, face beaten to a pulp, and what’s left attached to tubes that breathe and eat for him. Her brother did what he set out to do. He beat the ever-lovin’ humanity out of that brother, for touching a white woman.

The song of the sirens, calling young men to their death. 15’ll get you 20; but white’ll get you dead. He forgot to be careful round them. Them white women sing so sweet, their cruel, cruel song, make a brotha forget for a minute that he ain’t quite free.

Go to sleep, you little babe

Go to sleep you little babe

Everybody’s gone in the cotton and the corn

Didn’t leave nobody but the baby

 

The song of the sirens, calling young men to their death. Oh she called to him, knowing he would answer cause he was deep in that bottle she gave him, full of that sweet nectar that helps a brotha forget what happens when you answer her call.  ‘Cause that honey she was offering was deep in the rock of her brother’s baseball bat. How all-American of him. No swing and a miss from him. Big brother hit a home run, all over that nigga’s face. (It’s ok if we say it with an ‘a’ instead of an ‘r’, you know. I mean, they call themselves it all the time so what could be the harm?)

Don’t you weep you pretty babe

Don’t you weep you pretty babe

The song of the sirens, calling young men to their death. She led him right to it. Brought him outside on the front lawn, where he beat him to a pulp. He beat him like it was 1955. That Louisville slugger was covered in red, they was white, and that nigga was black and blue. How’s that for patriotism. Just another faithful son of this great nation, making America Great Again. And she was free to go the club next Friday night. After all her song is so pretty; it would be a shame if there weren’t anybody to appreciate it in all its horrific beauty.

She’s long gone with her red shoes on

Gonna need another lovin’ babe

 Go to sleep, you little babe

Go to sleep, you little babe

Honey in the rock and the sugar don’t stop

Gonna need another lovin babe

This is the place where Emmet Till didn’t whistle at Carolyn Bryant, but got beat to death anyway.

photo credit: kim pollock

Published by

iamthedaughterwhosurvived

Hey, y'all, my name is Kimberly Pollock. I have been professor of Cultural and Ethnic Studies at Bellevue College, and an Equity Consultant, outside of Seattle, WA for the past 25 years. Born on the South Side of Chicago, after having lived in Louisiana, I have settled in the Pacific Northwest, where I teach, think and wax poetic about the state of our world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s