On a line, “Knew white speech. How to make a look
     an omen,” from “Gay Chaps at the Bar” by Gwendolyn
     Brooks


They were not fools: our parents always knew
The mores, ways and words of all the white
Folk that surrounded us. Even their speech
Was not beyond us – it was not the how
That we found useless, but we were never to
Become our “betters,” we could never make
Our skin turn white. We would always sing a
Song that’s black and blue; we’d always look
The way we look. We had to learn an an-
Them of our own and follow our own omen.