Distractions: a poetic reflection

January 19th, 2015


I wanted to write something about Robin Williams 
But the armed conflict in Ferguson, MO keeps distracting me.
I remember when the tanks rolled down the streets of DC
on our way to church to wave palms, 
celebrating how Jesus came to the capital city.
It was 1968, and someone had shot Martin
who never wore anything but a tie and suit, 
Black Baptist preacher that he was.
So much for blaming folk for stuff that happens because of what they got on.
Our pastor talked about how he had walked down 7th street during all the mayhem
And even though he looked like a white man, 
None of the brothas bothered him,
Because they knew he was the friend who stood up for them.
The questions are the same.
Why are they rioting? Why are they burning down their own houses?
Anger is not rational. Nor is hatred.
Why kill a prophet who only desires peace? 
Not the absence of conflict,
But the presence of justice.
Why kill a girl who only wants help?
Why harass and kill a boy who is just trying to get to his grandmama’s house?
It just doesn’t make sense.
And yet, even though we did not create this situation, 
black people are called upon to answer the question 
To make sense of it. 
But there is no sense to be had because
Anger is not rational. Nor is hatred.
This is not productive behavior. What do they expect to get out of it?
Why do y’all act like this?
Maybe to make sure that the story does not go underground
Faster than a body can be buried.

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