Ed Axel’s “Black Bodies Swinging” is a Testament to the Power of Poetry in Youth Culture

“I just want people to understand that this isn’t ancient history this is still America today, my mom was born the same year MLK was murdered, my grandma would have been the same age as Emmett Till, they infested our communities with crack and aids only 30 years ago, so it’s important for people to understand this is the America we still live in and my people are still feeling this pain every day.” – Ed Axel

Note From The Editor: We came across Ed Axel’s poem when he shared it on social media last week and were immediately taken aback by his flow. We encourage you to go check out his Instagram and collaborative project, FLUXGAZE, as he undoubtedly displays a promising voice and eye that should inspire the next class of creatives. Much love Ed, thank you for letting us share.



Bumps in the road to slow down the speed

No that’s just black bodies piling in the city street

Black bodies swinging in the summer breeze

Blood at the roots and blood on the leaves


Walking on soil with a past I can’t forget

Bonfires, marshmallows, and the smell of burning flesh


I can still smell the flesh burn

I can still hear the snap of the next neck turned


You goddamn right we got burn down these streets

Cause you lynch and burn niggers and you start at our feet


We’ve been walking through hell in the land of the free

Blood seeping through the soil of the land of the free

Black bodies swinging in the land of the free

Black flesh burning in the land of the free


Land of the free and brutal deaths in a tree

Home of the brave but the lands not for me


You promised me freedom and equal opportunities

Promised me soil but never let me grow the seeds

White boy can you tell me how it feels to be free

Emmett Till was beat to death and he was only fourteen


And he only would have been the same age as my grandma

As a kid, she probably never dreamed of a grandson

Rape and tragedy in the soil that I stand on

Why god did this have to be the land that I land on?


Why god is this fucking noose around my neck still?

Any black child walking is the next Emmett Till

Got me feeling like the promises they made was never real

Cause the wounds that this nation carved in me never healed


Black bodies swinging in another empty field

Blood dripping seeping in the soil of the hill

Black flesh melting in another cracker’s grill

They covered up the scent but I can really smell it still


Now watch that black body swing

Still swinging.