I'm a black man from the ghetto--
got took for some other negro.
They say I stabbed and killed a child
they gave me the speediest trial.
Judge and jury were white as chalk
and they believed the white cop-talk.
Through the trial my lawyer slept--
I sat grimly; my children wept.
Lawyer was paid by this poor state
He didn't care about my fate.
I sit here in my dismal cell,
living--dying in man-made hell.
Every tortured breath I take,
during the day when I'm awake,
remind me I am doing time
for another's horrific crime.
He is out there, probably free
while I rot in my misery.
He is a threat to everyone
and will be even when I'm gone.
It's twenty years since I been free.
Kids have grown and forgotten me.
Only the words of those who hate
come in the mail to me of late.
Five days remain until my doom--
five more days of relentless gloom.
Hate needles, don't want to be stuck--
asked the warden to string me up.
Grandpa hanged by the Ku Klux Klan,
I'll also hang by some white man.
Parents would rather wish me dead
than wish the killer caught instead.
They trust the justice I received.
I know I'll never be reprieved--
at least not in this man-ruled land.
I await God's just and loving hand...
it is my hope...my only hope...
to live beyond the hangmans rope--
to be free, loved, and lose my fears--
to no longer shed these desperate tears.
But how could God let unjust men
lock the innocent in a pen?
My faith is weak but hope is strong
that right will triumph over wrong.
I gain nothing from this letter.
I'll see death, just hope it's better.
You've done well since your practice days
Best not sleep on a job that pays
Keep alert 'cause you know it's true
killer's next victim could well be you!
See you up or down there.