Ode to James Baldwin

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Ode to James Baldwin

You questioned the deeds of humanity,

with such intensity

that you must have been suffering from them

from the moment you were born.

You wondered if change was worth anything

because, to most people, it was so much easier

to become an innocent

and accept the truth that White America wanted you to believe in.

Perhaps your words were your gift,

or your apology

to White America,

Maybe your words were some sort of guidance,

for the innocents,

who really believe

that our problems have been solved,

and that they have been cleansed once more,

as if they ever have been.

It is a belief,

a state of mind,

that they suffer from.

As you know so well,

not a single thing is or ever was innocent

about the innocents:

those who run, run, run

away from White America’s truth,

because they tire of the answers,

and look for questions instead.

© 2016 By Zoe Smith-Holladay


Zoe Smith-Holladay is a rising 7th grade creative writing major at the Denver School of the Arts. She is founder & author of kidsanimalstation.com, an animal blog that she started when she was eight. In Spring 2016, Smith-Holladay’s first fictional piece of prose “No Man’s Land” was published in literary magazine Calling Upon Calliope. Her favorite genres to read and write in are historical fiction, comedy, and fantasy. When she grows up, she wants to be a geneticist and would like to find a way to combine her passion for creative writing and science.

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  1. stacey l patterson August 16, 2016 at 5:08 am

    You are very talented. Whatever you do don’t stop writing!

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