Independence Day
By Truth Thomas

There are fists making tom toms of eardrums,
boots kicking downbeats in skulls,
in every state of tinted circles.

We the trapped traps bear marks
of all their sticks and mallets,
all their Billyclub Cobhams.

This is the only freedom we can firework:
Freedom to have our snare skin
struck until it cracks

as white hands
play “God Bless America”
from the bandstand on our backs.

Truth Thomas is a singer-songwriter and poet born in Knoxville, Tennessee and raised in Washington, DC. He studied creative writing at Howard University and earned his MFA in poetry at New England College. His collections include: Party of Black, A Day of Presence, Bottle of Life, Speak Water, winner of the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry, and the critically acclaimed children’s book, My TV is Not the Boss of Me, with illustrations by Cory Thomas. Founder of Cherry Castle Publishing, LLC, and a former writer-in-residence for the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo), his poems have appeared in over 100 publications, including The 100 Best African American Poems (edited by Nikki Giovanni), and been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize.