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.