Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry
by Will Nelson

Dressed in a slim tuxedo
He stands center stage
His semi-hollow body
Guitar glimmers

The maroon
Maple drum set
Sits in his shadow
Away from the crowd

Chuck bears no resemblance
To analogous pale faces
Without even a speck
Of any coloration

They call his name in joy
But he cannot share
A meal with any of them
At the local whites-only diner

Our America was
Still a misinformed young adult

Caught in bed
With the likes of Jim Crow
An abusive affair with
Nooses that hung on trees

In the 50’s white picket fences
Masked the bigotry
Of a nation that plagued
Those on the outside

Chuck Berry’s audience
May not have heard his plight
But they always tuned in
To his steel-stringed Gibson

Vinyl records spinning
At homes or in clubs
Led to children of all colors
Learning under the same room

Blues from Mississippi
Folk music from Appalachia
Created a love child named
Rock and Roll

Chuck Berry’s Music
Blurs the boundary
Between black and white

Fitting it all onto
A single spectrum of grey.

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