FOR THE FALLEN - [unfinished]
We’ll never forget the debt we owe
to all those battles fought in the South.
Rich pickings for Jim Crow,
but they should know! That every time
they took down a lifeless lump of flesh
hanging from a tree, we gained strength.
Some think by cheapening our lives,
our will is denied.
That every time the call comes,
another son’s violation
will quicken our submission.
That when we come upon
the beaten and disfigured,
it triggers some kind of
dissipation of the spirit.
That slow, slow, continuum of nothingness.
But all it does is give a date; a time; a place
that will, in remembrance,
Whenever a cell door slams shut,
offering no resistance
to death in isolation, there
comes a time to ask the question,
whose side are you on ?
From the lonely laying to rest
of those cut from trees,
the identification, after mutilation,
of bodies in ditches, to the
neon neurosis of city cops,
with their choice of
spics, spades, yids, and wops,
others now bear witness, and declare,
where there is no justice,
there can be no peace.
And the strength we draw
from those who went before,
to those who follow after.