Just Gone

by VaShon J. Brown

A man down in Backwoods, Mississippi done offered me work on his farm. 
I think I am going to take it. It can't do any harm. 
I am a man of good physical stature and strength. 
I have gone through many pains and struggles at great lengths. 
The year is 1903. I am no longer a slave; me a black man is finally free. 
My mama, Belle, taught me all about survival 
and to watch and pray for God's grace and mercy and His arrival. 
"Keep yo' eyes on the prize", she say, 
"`cause God's coming back to carry you home one day." 
I never forgot what my mama said. 
She was an honest and strong woman but now she's dead. 
My papa was someone I never knew, 
but I am sure that my aunties and other folks do. 
I have a wife and fourteen children 
all named after books in the Bible because in God we trust. 
So giving god reverence through James, Ruth, Amos, Daniel, Esther, 
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Timothy, Samuel, Joshua, Jeremiah, and Jonah was a must. 
Providing for my family is a never-ending chore for me. 
I get my sons out there and they work in the fields with me. 
My daughters help their mama inside the house and hang out the wash on the clothesline. 
My former boss somehow found out about me making and selling my homemade moonshine. 
That is what I went to jail for. 
That place is not fit for the lowest down human being and I don't wantāI mean, 
I ain't going back there no more. 
It was like the place never seen cleanliness. It was swarming with flies and gnats. 
But I started getting scared when my bunk was occupied with them nasty ass rats. 
The food was something that I dreaded to eat, 
especially that stuff that was supposed to be meat. 
Some of the people there really and actually considered their cell their home. T
here was a man named Sam, who was schizophrenic and believed he was a make believe gnome. 
Damn it to hell that place of disbelief and hypocritical virtue. 
Make it your business never to go there whatever you do. 
After spending so much time away from my family, 
I knew that I had a real purpose and a boundless destiny 
I went on to work for that man down in Backwoods. 
He told me he liked me and would treat me real good. 
Mr. Huntley was a short, fat, white man. 
He had nearly forty acres of plantation land. 
That seemed like a whole lot to me 
because I knew I was finally going to make me some good money. 
The only thing I didn't like was being away from my children and my wife. 
But I had to do what I had to do to give them all a better life. 
For a total of five years I worked for thirty dollars a year. 
I got tired of working for nothing and I knew not much longer was I going to be here. 
I told Mr. Huntley that I have had enough and was ready to go home to my family. 
He said, "Nigger, you are crazy. You ain't going nowhere." 
I said, "I'm a free man Mr. Huntley. I can go anywhere I please."
He said, "Like I said before boy, you can't leave."
I said, "I miss my children and my wife needs me." 
Mr. Huntley gave me the notion that he was totally in disagree. 
I already had my mind set upon leaving Backwoods. 
Mr. Huntley no longer liked me and he no longer treated me good. 
It's as if he still had a slave master's mentality. 
He can't keep me here, I thought, cause just like him, I'm free. 
As I laid my head down for the night to get some much needed rest, 
I felt something hard and cold hit me in the middle of my chest. 
It was Mr. Huntley's oldest son. 
He hit me with his big, black rifle gun. 
I was too scared to move or even breathe. 
I prayed to God to make this bastard leave. 
He stared at me with hate in his eyes. 
But I stared at him back as I tried to avoid my own demise. 
I said, "Now, Tom, what is all of this about? I thought we were friends. 
We laugh together and eat together. I just don't understand." 
 He said, "Well, my daddy and his friends is tired of hearing about you being a free man." 
"Well, if that's all it is, why don't you just let me go?" 
He said, "You betrayed my daddy so my answer to you is no."
I stood up slowly never taking my eyes off of Tom and his big, black rifle gun. 
I laughed to myself that Mr. Huntley couldn't do his own dirty work 
so he sent my friend, Tom, his oldest son. 
I looked over to the left out of the window 
because I seen flames of fire and I saw about ten dark shadows. 
There were men on horses in all what covered from head to toe. 
They all had sticks of flaming hot fire that had a vengeful glow. 
Tom told me to walk out the door with his big, black rifle gun stuck in the small of my back. 
He then covered my head with an old potato sack. 
All I could hear was all this yelling form the men on horses in their all white. 
I thought about my family and prayed to God to not let me die by the hands of these men tonight. 
It was nigger this and nigger that, that these men were using to keep me in check. 
The nudge of the big, black rifle gun pushed me off the porch 
and before I knew it a noose was placed around my neck. 
Suddenly, the world became silent to me as the hoisted me up into the big, old oak tree. 
Senseless, breathless, lifeless is what I have become. 
My wanting to go home is where all of this came from. 
It don't make sense does it? My feet is where the torch of my body was lit. 
The ignorance in those men's eyes beheld me 
as the flames burnt my body to a blackened crisp of flesh and bones. 
They turned a deaf ear to my cries, screams and final moans. 
They killed my body but my soul will continue to live on looking at the murderers of me. 
How can they live within themselves 
and how can they be so overwhelmed with excitement of perpetual cruelty? 
Now I am freeāmind, body and spirit. 
Prepare yourself for the littlest voice of demise even when you think you hear it. 
As my soul drifts to my family's mourning, 
they take head to what happened to me as a life lesson, a warning. 
I trusted in a man that did not have my best interest at heart. 
He knew he was going to do me wrong from the very start. 
My spirit speaks to my wife in her vivid dreams. 
She smiles as she sleeps as the light from my soul brings forth a bright and radiant beam. 
As my beam of light slowly faded away, 
so did her smile and her subconscious mind was begging me to stay. 
God eased her spirit for the children's sake. 
Our souls finally kissed as I prepared for this final journey I now must take. 

Just Gone by VaShon J. Brown

© Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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