Baltimore 1968 – Poem by John C. Mannone

After Dudley Randall

“Oh, Mother, I’ll be fine today.
I’m just going to see my friend, Pat.
Don’t worry, I’ll be home by eight.
Please don’t forget to feed my cat.”

“Be careful, Son, a storm is coming—
clouds of black men are on the rise.
They have chains and clubs, and crying
anger from their blood-shot eyes.”


“Oh, Mother, I am so afraid
that you were right, I saw, as such,
wave after wave, just like you said,
angry men running, yelling so much

and pointing their terrible knives,
but I ran as fast as I could,
me and my friend ran for our lives
through bushes and alleys and woods.”

“I told you, Son, that hatred swells
when any man has no heart.
If only we respected well
each other, then maybe we could start

to heal and put away distrust,
and all of us could live as one,
for in God’s eyes, this is a must,
then love for all just might be won.”

“Oh, Mother, I know that you are right
about all of this and that…
Thanks for caring for Black-n-White,
my wonderful colorblind cat.

Perhaps we can learn from that cat.”

John C. Mannone

John C. Mannone has work in Artemis, Poetry South, Blue Fifth Review, New England Journal of Medicine, Peacock Journal, Gyroscope Review, Baltimore Review, Pedestal, Pirene's Fountain, Intima, Eye To The Telescope and others. He’s the winner of the 2017 Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian literature and the recipient of two Weymouth writing residencies. He has three poetry collections:Apocalypse (Alban Lake Publishing) won 3rd place for the 2017 Elgin Book Award; Disabled Monsters (The Linnet’s Wings Press) was featured at the 2016 Southern Festival of Books; and Flux Lines (Celtic Cat Publishing), forthcoming in 2018, uses science metaphors for love-related poems. He’s been awarded the 2017 Horror Writers Association Scholarship, two Joy Margrave Awards for Nonfiction, and nominated for several Pushcart, Rhysling, and Best of the Net awards. He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex, Silver Blade, and Liquid Imagination. He’s a professor of physics near Knoxville, TN.

One thought on “Baltimore 1968 – Poem by John C. Mannone”

  1. Dear John,
    Thank you for allowing me to be your friend on Facebook .
    I am Roger Harkins’ first cousin Claire.
    His mother and my father were siblings.

    I am very moved by your poetry.
    I especially enjoyed Baltimore 68-The year I graduated college.
    It was quite a time we grew up in me near Boston-you near Baltimore.

    Sex-Drugs-Rock and Roll
    Our parents are dubbed The Great Generation-survived depression and World War 2
    What is my son’s generation
    What has he survived?

    Would be a fascinating poem if you could intertwine the lives of a 100 year old WAR
    a 70 year old SEX
    a 40 year old

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