Thursday, July 18, 2013

sixth to seventh


from sixth
to seventh
stepping from an innocent place
into a harsher place
from sixth
to seventh
from sixth
to racial unrest
as a boy i knew nothing
nothing about the hate
between races
between skin
nothing about a martyred king
nothing about that dream
from sixth
to seventh
i stepped over
walked down the halls
halls of bitterness
and hate
i was hated
i was hated for the color
the color
God gave me
i was slapped
chastised chased
rundown beaten
because i was not like them
i turned the other cheek
and never returned hate
for hate
beyond my persecution
i tried to show
that i didn't look down
didn't look angry
didn't disrespect
i didn't
even when i was cornered
sometimes forced to fight
i didn't show hate
didn't hate
didn't have hate to give
children left home
every morning
road the bus
dropped off
public school
where adults seemed absent too often
looking the other way
quietly
not their fight
not their trouble
left the children
to deal with it
the consequences
of a nation's past sin
segregation
to integration
we knew nothing of it
strange words
that soon took a brutal meaning
we knew nothing
of any race
any man's struggle
just wanted to get through
get along
but
there in the halls
there in the bathrooms
there in the locker rooms

behind the gym
trouble always seemed to lurk
before during after class
the children
black and white were left
left
left alone
left to deal with the consequences
i realized it
even then
those other children
those children
different from me
who hated me
were taught by their parents
to hate
 to hate like their parents hated
imparted
the grievances frustration
the anger of old sins
festering
ever unforgiven
ever unforgiving
passed it down
to their children
mantle of misery
to be born again in them
 to pick up the torch
lash out
ever lashing out
 ever lashing thrashing out
at whatever was is white
seeing only through back eyes
 and not through the blood
this wasn't the martyred king's dream
countless roads since named for him
countless highways and byways
his good name
trodden under so many feet
decades decades
marching in his name
a road named well
but a road seldom walked
his good words
trampled under rioting feet

his good dream
not by the color of skin
but by
content of character
forgotten or ignored
listen to him
repent forgive
lay down that nightmare
lay down that yoke

don't stir those ashes
don't kindle those flames
put out that fire
that consumes the soul
lay down that nightmare
wake to the dream
walk that road
listen to him
that old preacher of yours
that dear wise man
calmly calling
repent forgive
repent forgive
not through black eyes
only through the blood
grace
forgiveness
of Jesus Christ

Colossians 3:12-14


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