The Newark Riots ~ 50 Years Later

This week marks the 50th anniversary of a very sad time – the Newark riots. I remember them well. There was a curfew, and when I looked out our apartment window – National Guardsmen rode by in a jeep with rifles leaning against their chests. I was nowhere near the terror-stricken interior but inhaled the tension. This was my home city, and I was 14 years old. I wrote these tanka poems in hindsight and they were published by Modern English Tanka Press in 2009, 40 years after the fact. Newark still suffers:
forty years
after the riots
three students slain
“no apparent cause”
again, this blistering heat
born to love
born to hunt
we do what we do…
all the songs all the poems
nothing changes this
coming in on
a soft summer breeze
tickling my necking
and dropping down low —
this sadness for what
warm nights
I undress by an open
window   wondering
what is freely given
               freely taken
© Andrea Grillo

2 thoughts on “The Newark Riots ~ 50 Years Later

  1. Andrea, I remember these riots as well. I went to high school with the daughter of the slain firefighter. So sad. I still pray that there is hope for Newark, and all of us.

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