(For Martin Luther King Jr)
Weary waists whelmed Selma’s
Wide, baldish ways
On a dreadfully dry day,
Roasted raw by the rays of racial
Rascality; frowning a friendless face
On the sadistic streets of Alabama,
From its sky’s cruel cardboard.But ‘forward!’, the dreamer said.
Forward, the dreamer marched
Alongside a thousand martyrs,
Shedding tough torrents of sweat to douse
Harlem’s thirsty clay –
Sprinkling liberal libations on
The soil of Montgomery,
To dignify the indignities of the Ebony.
Ghastly gates of Birmingham’s solitary confinements
Hosted willing enmasse of the Negroid feet.
On some sad sidewalks of Selma,
Craniums of marchers muttered sorrowful sounds,
Placating the rude wrath of sheriffs’ rods.
Harmless they stood: phlegmatic necks,
Bare before the butchers’ knives
Ah, America, have you no conscience?
You provoked a practical patience of the black ship!