Museum of Lynching”
There are no words, no poetry, no song,
nor prayer that can hold this witness
In the heart of Montgomery.
in the center of the slave city.
On a hill that overlooks
The rows and rows of rusting
steel boxes with the names, date,
and place where these men, women, and children.
were tortured, burned, hanged.
The steel rusting boxes
are sarcophagi of memory and place.
Men, women, and children
tortured, burned and hanged.
A jolly public occasion declared the newspapers
“Nigger to be lynched for talking to a white woman!”
“Nigger boy to be lynched for asking for his back wages.”
“Nigger momma killed for asking why her husband was lynched.”
“Killed for organizing workers.”
“Killed for asking to vote.”
Thousands of stories of Lynching.
A shame that time will not nor should erase.
My most artful poetic inventions
My songs and music cannot find a single note
to ease or hold this pain.
In my slow meditation and walk, I touch
these rusting steel sarcophagi of memory.
Most of those killed are unnamed and unknown,
yet here are those we know the men, women,
and children killed by this sin of hatred.
I walk through this memorial, the rusted
sarcophagi that is a witness to this insanity.
The long corridor with the water pouring
over the walls. The small lights beneath
my feet. Hushed and more reverent than a graveyard.
A thousand waterfalls will never wash away
this sin of hatred and racism.
roars in the hushed reverence.
Holier than any holy book
Only the wind
in this sanctuary.
The sunset light casts shadows,
as I walk here till the dark.
I feel so hollow and empty,
My humanity, the thin
and imperceptible line,
that separates beast from human.
That line has vanished.
This is our humanity without soul.
I am a blind,
stripped of my soul.
Could any God forgive the
Could Jesus comfort
the man who crucified this child?
Where in the new testament are
the words to justify these murders?
Would John the Baptist be able
to anoint, bless and forgive?
My humanity is stripped naked
and exposed on the whipping post.
How is there contrition?
How is there forgiveness?
Is it even possible to forgive
the murderers who tortured children?
Is it possible to love those sinners
who embraced the sin of slavery?
Here on this hill above Montgomery,
this city built on the bones and blood
of African American slaves.
Here is this witness to Lynching.
This city built brick by brick from
African American slaves.
Here is this witness to lynching.
Alabama, this country and land,
forged and made from the sin of slavery.
Here is this witness to Lynching.
Lynching is not the past.
A man does not sway on a noose
The roasted flesh does not stink
A naked body of the black woman
no longer hangs in the public square of Montgomery
Michal Jordan may be a billionaire.
The talented tenth may escape racism.
Clarence Thomas may sit on the Supreme Court.
Barrack Obama may have given us the illusion of hope.
But our slave prisons are bursting with
African American men and women.
Our slave for-profit prisons filled
with black and brown children.
The schools in Camden are not the same schools in Princeton.
The lower 9th Ward High Schools are prisons of ignorance
Our inner cities and impoverished lands keep people
locked in the cycle of poverty and slavery.
Now I stand on this spot of witness.
Not a museum of Peace and Social Justice.
This is a living witness of Lynching.
in the heart of Montgomery.
This is the witness.
Oh, my beautiful America,
filled with the rhetoric of
Justice for all.
Oh, my beautiful America
built on the bones and blood
of the enslaved.
How from this monument
of witness is forged contrition?
Namaya 3 December 2019 Montgomery, Alabama