Night’s black is broken open,
with a gun blast,
death’s decree is spoken, and an officer dies in the street.
Its an august night in the American south,
Ms. McPhail lies weeping on the floor of her house.
Two marshals and a reverend leave a widow in their wake,
who can explain to this wife what hot steel did to her lover today?
Her husband lost to reckless violence,
his blood skirts on concrete, it’s Mother Earth’s defiance.
Why do we pull triggers in the direction of our own,
not our family and not our friends but simply the humanity that is home.
This night, the shooter has many faces,
and the darkness shrowds his guilt,
yet if a white man is shot,
then the courts can’t hold still.
So justice is lost in pursuit of revenge,
and the life of a suspect becomes the means to an end.
The people adopt a melody for the welfare of a man,
who’s to be strapped to a leather table and sent to converse with God in eden’s hand.
But their song’s unrecognizable against the persuasions of tradition,
that dismiss suggestions of a racist process as a black man’s ammunition.
So reminiscent of a time, when his life was worth three fifths of mine,
Troy Davis is killed by an incomplete process.
And America is ill.
A sickness we claim not to contract,
for we fortify our borders with the audacity of a pact.
We’ve handed that promise to the hands of a running wind,
which bears our rhetoric over oceans and invites diversity in.
That truly is the native tongue,
of the world’s wise both old and young
But we’ve forgotten what’s been written in Earth’s volumes of holy texts,
that you should love your brother in this world so you might better know the next.
But foremost in our disease is the day we concede to blindness,
and in looking at the world forget-the-humanity that binds us.
It simply is our choice when we torture and make excuse,
suspending freedom for precious sovereignty it’s the innocent that lose.
So where, I ask, are the letters to our enemies saying, “for the sake of both are children..”
“can we find something but war and resentment and division with which to fill them?”
In what form will the proverbs of this day be recorded,
in which men rise above their nations and say, “blood and ruin on my family, I can no longer afford this”?
What is that rumor that tiptoes in our streets,
that evades the eyes of the hopeless yet comes to the aid of the weak?
When kids scribble name tags they should read svetlana or raul or roger,
we can't let kids grow up thinking their name's pronounced "impoverished".
Darfur, Guantanamo, the School of the Americas,
we’re not evil people, but we can’t let evil bury us.
In my country, despite its flaws we make beautiful music,
the kind where babies sleep, women smile and men weep ‘cause it’s finally the hate that loses.
If you listen, you can hear the voices tremble as they murmur,
the song of a movement built on the pulse of rebel fervor.
“Come all you weary, to the place where we speak,
of democracy and dignity and the liberties of the free,
rest your broken spirits in the promises of hope,
close your eyes ‘cause change is coming, in our hands we hold the vote”.
23 October, 2008