Black and Blue Blues – by Mary Getlein


I’m Irish, as the day is long
and the night is young —

I’m Irish
When you cut down young men
Who might have stood up tall
I’m Irish
For the eight million Irish
at the start of the famine
and the four million that were left
I’m Irish
For the Irish families that
were split up, “across the water”
I’m Irish
For the people having children
That they couldn’t afford to feed — I’m Irish
For the hatred and the laughter
That were sent our way — I’m Irish
For the women begging from the
Roman Catholic Church,
for twenty-two cents a week — I’m Irish
For the homeless congregations who died
with the green stain on their lips
from eating grass — I’m Irish
For the lies and the murders
done by people in power — I’m Irish
For the drinkers and the drinks
For being found in a ditch
For what the English landlords
did to their tenants — I’m Irish
For only having one crop and have that
crop die of a mysterious fungus — I’m Irish For the poor
that came to America
to follow the dream and the lies,
to end up as a scullery maid, a railroad man
a hooker, or dead,
never to be seen again —
Their parents back in the old country wondering if their
kids were OK. — I’m Irish
It’s in my blood
I can’t fight it
I can’t win over it — it runs over me.
Instead of saying “I’m Irish”
You could just call me “homeless”
The same scorn and derision would follow
my name.
Your path could be wiped out by someone
in a blue or black uniform
He was just a “homeless fuck”.
No ties to his family, anymore
The shame is too big, to be stood
no one brags about their homeless kids
They wonder about them, they worry about them When
they call “home”.
They don’t ask for money
They just want to come home
but their parents don’t want them
unless they are sober and easier to manage. Now young
Black men are being killed on the streets of America
It’s a new club for cops to belong to: added status for
killing the next generation of Black people.
I’m Irish, I’m Black, I’m homeless, I’m dead.
Dedicated to all young people
trying to stay ALIVE.

Categories: Homeless/RVs, Irish, Poetry

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