IF *

If prejudice and discrimination 

Will not be wiped out by












Then maybe… 


* Composed September 19, 1977; © 1977 Esmeralda M.A. Thornhill


…And God created Woman — 

After Man.

To stand immobile on the lower rung
Of the Ladder of Life,
Bending her shoulder to her Lord and Master
His hobbled boots and spurs drawing blood
Sucking strength from her as from a revitalizing elixir.

…And God created Woman — 

After Man.

To procreate, run off
Like a duplicating machine,
Copies, miniature reproductions
To satisfy the lusty ego
Of her superior Consort
Who sees himself forever reflected in the Mirror of Time.

…And God created Woman— 

After Man.

To idealize the brutal shock
Of the Reality of Life,
As she makes a house a Home
For her Lord and Master
Keeping him company and catering to his whims Making him what he could never be without her.

…And God created Woman— 

After Man.

To be later institutionalized and legalized
By Civilization, by the Establishment, by Man; The guiding light, the nucleus of the family Around which society whirls;
The indefatigable, ever-giving, rejuvenating Booster of her Lord and Master.

…And God created Woman— 

After Man.

To live her life of dreams within her, Alone.
To suffer her woes and deceptions, Alone.

To mourn her plight with bleeding heart, Alone.
And Man saw that it was good.

* Composed October 10, 1969; © 1969 Esmeralda M.A. Thornhill


They’re going to get you.

They’re going to get you. 

It may be sooner.
It may be later.

Black Well-to-do Man,
They’ll catch you
Leveraging your fear of losing

Acquired wealth,

Acquired position,

Acquired prestige…

But They’ll catch you.

Black Middle-class Man, 

They’ll hook you
Flashing a foretaste of

Promised riches,
Promised security, 

Promised White Woman…

But They’ll hook you.

Poor Black Man,
They’ll nab you
Conjuring up the nightmare of Past poverty,
Past “priors,”
Past hunger…
But They’ll nab you.

Yes, Black Man.
They’ve got your records:
Bank record,
School record,
Prison record…
They’ve got them all.
And They’ll catch, hook, and nab you—
Sooner or later,
They’re going to get you.

* Composed February 1974;© 1974 Esmeralda M.A. Thornhill


New York, I’ve heard you.
Earsplitting screech of brakes,

Honking cab horns,
Death-rattling subway,
Thundering thud of human feet… 

hurrying here, hurrying there.
Yes, noisy New York, I’ve heard you— 

From afar.

New York, I’ve seen you.
Gaping subway mouths
Spewing thick and flowing crowds

Onto littered streets, vehicle infested 

Hostile papier mâché multitudes … 

hurrying, hurrying.
Yes, bustling New York, I’ve seen you— 

From afar.

New York, I’ve smelled you.
Your cosmopolitan cuisine —
Italian, Chinese, Hindu, West Indian, Soul, Français,

Ukrainian, Greek, Puerto Rican—
And your cosmopolitan garbage.
Your smog, fog, and noxious air.
Yes, polluted New York, I’ve smelled you—
From afar.

New York, I’ve even tasted you.
Your sweet glory in Her Majesty of Liberty,

Your rich grandeur in Empire State Building, 

Your bitter poverty in Harlem’s vilified ghetto,

Your flat indifference to your fellow man.
Yes, revolting New York, I’ve tasted you— 

From afar.

New York, I can feel you!
Your cardiac throb that never stops.

Your hate and violence bred of fear. 

Your coldness and your “alone-ness”

Your constant searching for that “Something” 

Yes, lonely New York,
I have never been to you— yet,
I feel I know you—

From afar.

* Composed February 1969;© 1969 Esmeralda M.A. Thornhill