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The date was April 4, 1968
And another assassination!
I cried easier during those youthful days
I understood the politics of freedom
But the politics of death was what
I wanted to run from
Death or painful crying
I am not personally acquainted with death
However, I did have a close experience
But I don't count that incident because
I survived the foolish dare
I don't cry so easily these days
My tears have gotten selfish
White girls and boys
Martin had a dream
Mahalia Jackson reminded him of it
One August day in Washington:
"Tell them about your dream, Martin!"
Mahalia encouraged him
And Martin revealed his dream
Making America dream with him
Making a different speech in Memphis, Tennessee
Other than to shut down his dream
For a fair and just America
They wanted to shut down
His ideology, his politics, his righteousness
Their dry white hate wanted still his voice
Is not repeated as often as
I Have A Dream
But the speech was just as memorable
It had an important message
Martin was in Memphis to march and protest
With striking sanitation workers
They wanted recognition for their worth
As working men
As human beings
Their posters screamed:
I AM A MAN!
I AM A MAN!
Martin requested one of
His favorite Mahalia Jackson songs
I think it might have been
Precious Lord, Take My Hand
No one could sing it like Mahalia
And then Martin told us that he
Just wanted to do God's will
He said he had
God allowed him to
My heart swelling with the hallelujah of God
Nevertheless, I wanted to know what the
Promise Land looked like
Not everyone is permitted to
Climb to the mountaintop
To see what Martin saw
It was like a full face halo
Must be the glow of God
I thought to myself
Near the end of the speech
And then I got to Memphis
And some began to say the threats
Or talk of threats were out.
What would happen to me
From some of our sick white brothers.
Well, I don't know what will happen now.
Because I have been to the
Mountaintop. And I don't mind.
Like anybody I want
To live a long life.
Longevity has its place.
And I am happy tonight.
I'm not worried about anything.
I'm not fearing any man.
Martin said his eyes had seen the
Glory of the coming of the Lord
I envied him because my eyes
Were not open enough to see God
And the coming of His glory
Show him the Promise Land
And not let him cross over
Perhaps God explained the journey
To him as he did with Moses
The Book of Deuteronomy says:
Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab
To Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah,
Which is across from Jericho.
And the Lord showed showed him all
Land of Gilead as far as Dan,
All Naphtali and the land of
Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land
of Judah as far as the Western Sea,
The South, and the plain of the Valley
of Jericho, the city of palm trees
As far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him,
This is the land of which I swore
To give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
Saying, I will give it to your descendants.
I have caused you to see it with your own eyes,
But you shall not cross over there.
Martin was graced to see what we could not
Or the prospect of death
A man or woman cannot achieve
The complete art of living
Unlike Martin, I was straddling the fence
My false bravery was too fearful of dying
Strutting and marching toward
I wish I could have known Martin
Like a bold of lightning
Energizing my weaknesses and fears
I should have been living
My spirit couldn't pull my feet out of the concrete
Standing in my kitchen
Trembling and crying, the iron in my hand
I wondered if my eyes would
See the coming of the Lord