Racism, Hate, Evil, Bigot … Reality

I want to wrap my head around the pain,

because that is where we belong,

we cannot forget the horrific loss,

the tragedy of humanity at its finest,

buried within the wild constraints of evil.

Where does it lie, just waiting?

I know myself when I walk into a room,

a certain baggage wrapped underneath

a well defined mockery of who I am in the moment,

yet no pistols, no hate, no racist bigotry

anywhere near my body, completely vacant

from my mind, I am left tonight only feeling tears.

~

I don’t understand where we are going,

when I was a child, I used to remember

hearing about the bad things,

having to listen to the news, and searching

the expressions, my mom’s distant looks,

my dad’s confused head shake as the meal prepared,

we were all a family just trying to get along,

trying to figure out a way to understand

only just then what was happening in our home.

~

We weren’t worrying for the moment about

Vietnam, Kent State, MLK, Malcolm, RFK,

we were singing Beatles songs and now recalling

the beauty that JFK provided for those few short years.

We never had the chance to see what life would be like

when MLK would finally turn 64, when Malcolm would speak

further, when the world’s leaders weren’t gunned down,

because some crazy assed american could make it happen.

I won’t give you crazy assed american the honor of capitalizing

the first letter of our proud nation, the one you desecrate

with all of your base, and evil, entitlement.

~

I want to say, well, to get to the end of my notion,

which cannot ever really end, because the dialogue,

the spiritual freedom, the positive balance,

well that piece of our hearts that allows us to return

to our homes as a family. That piece of sheer humanity,

allows us to live, well that’s the piece we need to get back to.

~

I’m going to cry tonight because I know not what else to do.

When I Was a Child in ’68

jfk-rfk-mlk

I remember my mother’s tears,

In 1963 bullets flew,

JFK became a national figure

who when his son saluted the world,

my mother held onto me,

in the den,

our family room,

I was a four year old boy

~

I didn’t know that the President died

and an entire nation cried..

~

A couple of years later,

I was beginning to recognize words,

there were certain names scrolled

on the CBS news with Walter Cronkite,

signing off with ‘and that’s the way it is’

began to be familiar,

even when he reported that Malcolm X

had died.

~

I didn’t know that the color of your skin

had such a bearing on our peaceful lives

~

We were in elementary school when the war raged,

Vietnam became LBJ’s final words,

his soft heart could not fight the battle raged,

He couldn’t seek another term,

he felt so responsible for the wreckage.

But we had hope, another Kennedy,

Robert was charismatic, and looked sad,

laying helpless on the tiles of

the California convention hall.

~

I began to know that an iron lunge

meant one’s life was surely losing time.

~

I recall riding to school with my mom,

listening to the radio talk about Bobby’s

grave injury. I knew he would be dead,

by the time we left school that day.

I was nine years old now,

and two months earlier

stood in my grandfather’s sunroom,

and listened to a radio report,

MLK Jr had just been shot in Memphis.

~

I didn’t know at the time that a Black man,

with ‘a dream’ would have such an impact on me.

~

I ran into my grandmother’s living room to my mom,

and told her what had happened,

and her disbelief began to tell me a story,

that tragedy was the way our world would change.

I remember her tears were more formidable,

than any she’d shed for JFK and RFK.

I remember that day realizing that MLK

had a different message lost in a flay of bullets.

And, now at ten years old I began to think,

that Malcolm X was killed because he scared people.

~

I’ve always wondered why prominent figures

could have such an impact only days before they died.

~

We have a history of losing our dignity,

then spending months aferward repairing

our fears, our anger, our difficult lives.

I would hope that today when we recognize

MLK and this legal holiday we gave this man,

that we privately take a moment to respect

the beauty and passion of a non-violent world.

~

I hope we can try to be real human beings today,

I hope too we can delight in the artistry of MLK.

(19,60,3)

RFK

When I was four the world changed around me,

my family I was only just learning to love

devastated by the national news.

The musty den in our home is my memory,

laying on the stale carpet, didn’t need a chair,

I was the kid,

with my family all together in tears

watching Walter Cronkite deliver our reality

(months later we would do the same with the Beatles, no tears)

as the news spread across a failing nation

whose idealism had died

with a bullet to the head.

Stark reality for me was still a cartoon image,

fascinated by the replays of a dying man,

I laid down aroused by the truth of tragedy,

wondering why everyone else was crying

while wallowing in the imagery

of a human condition I wasn’t yet ready

to understand.

~

In 1964, we would discover a British sound, a saving grace

let us forget about pain for a short time,

introduced a certain mindset that let us drift,

make love, hold flowers to our eyes, and scream for justice,

while around us everyone continued to crumble;

the forgotten meadow of loss

that when the buds of autumn begin to dry,

we only pay attention to the remaining fragrance,

that once used to be,

then life drifts away only to be reborn again

later in the springs of reckoning

when last year’s pain suddenly becomes memory.

The world would carry on as the human condition demands

with peril,

victory in the minds of the protestors,

a sea of young men wandering the soil at home

without any strength,

sapped by the will of living

in a war zone, drugged and destroyed,

while later in their lives, the mind could only be reminded,

no longer able to produce.

We watched as one leader after another discovered lead

that stopped our rally calls with a deafening silence,

later erupting in the civil streets across the country,

every alley way becoming planning ground

for the evening assault on the commercial world

unable to connect with the personal.

Without his charisma,

Beyond his angst,

faraway from peaceful strolls,

well past new idealism,

the 60’s became a fog,

a slow burning abyss

of revolution and fear,

that decades later would become a foundational

hypocrisy.

The minds that cried the loudest would be those

that seek shelter while saying ‘yes’ to the man

they earlier in life simply didn’t want to understand.

They got it, but didn’t like it,

well at least until they had their moments

victory with the status quo

a yuppified society that became the norm,

while underneath the pavement,

the homeless vets continued to struggle,

joined again by addicts,

followers of visualized hedonism

not quite understood.

The reality spoke,

we’d lost the beauty of JFK’s idealism,

only to later watch the Beatles create beauty in rhythms

that perhaps even Malcolm X might appreciate,

if we’d let him live beyond his progressive change.

Then Martin Luther King, Jr, was cut down by a savage

that created a rolling haze of violence and destruction

well deserved for the ignorance that helped aim the rifle.

I remember in 1968 I was growing conscious,

a man looked powerful with a similar charisma,

and just when he began to help me understand,

the State of California became a tragic focus.

~

Today, we do celebrate his idealism, the beauty of correctly stated words.

Imagine how poignant Lennon’s words would have remained, if only then,

at that time, the human condition couldn’t again rear its ugly naivete.