Good morning, Mr. Charlie,
Can you spare a girl a dime?
Right fine morning, Mr. Charlie,
Can you please spare a girl a dime?
Mr. Charlie rush on pass me
Like his own life was on the line.
Black man’s less than white man;
Blind man’s less than that.
You know black man’s less than white man;
Blind man’s even less than that.
But in the sight of a good woman,
He’s no less a man for that.
I had a lovely sister;
Her eyes were blear and vague as mine.
I had one lovely sister,
Eyes as blear and vague as mine.
Seem like every sorry no-count joker
Lined up to waste that woman’s time.
Woman’s less than man;
Blind woman’s less than anything.
Tell me woman’s less than man;
Blind woman’s worse than anything.
Lord, folks act like they can’t see me;
They’s gonna hear me when I sing.
Constance Merritt was born in Pine Bluff, AR in 1966 and educated at the Arkansas School for the Blind in Little Rock. She earned a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Merritt’s first book, A Protocol for Touch (UNT, 2000), was awarded the Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry. Two additional collections: Blessings and Inclemencies and Two Rooms were published by LSU in 2007 and 2009. Her poems, described by Eleanor Wilner as “tender and austere, formal and intimate at once” have been published widely, including in Poetry, Ploughshares, and the New Yorker. In 2001, Merritt received a grant from Rona Jaffe Writers’ Foundation and a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard; from 2002 to 2005 she served as the Writer-in-Residence at Sweet Briar College. In 2013, Merritt earned her MSSW from the University of Louisville. She lives in Louisville with her wife, the academic librarian Maria Accardi. Her fourth collection of poems is forthcoming from Headmistress Press in 2017.