Monday, January 20, 2014

In His Honor

I have one personal story that always moves my heart.


It’s based in a small church in my old St. Augustine neighborhood. He was speaking there during his visit to St. Augustine in 1964. While he was there, a man came in, with a gun, intending to kill Dr. King where he stood. The man could not bring himself to shoot Dr. King. Later, the man said in a statement to the press, “I looked into his eyes and I couldn’t do it. I could see he was a God-sent man.”

His closing remarks in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”:



“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all of their scintillating beauty.”

Lines from his final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” addressing many things, including the numerous threats coming from Memphis—that his life would be taken there—and it was:

"If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th century, I will be happy."

The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around. That's a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.

And another reason that I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we are going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demands didn't force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today.

Now, what does all of this mean in this great period of history? It means that we've got to stay together. We've got to stay together and maintain unity.

The question is not, "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?" The question is, "If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?"

That's the question.

Then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.

And I don't mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

And so I'm happy, tonight.

I'm not worried about anything.

I'm not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Like a Dog on a Bone

"I do believe/You are what you perceive/What comes is better/Than what came before."
                                                                                                                 -- Lou Reed, VU




Each time is like the first. And this is it: I'm fine. Until they're happy with someone else. Then I can't let go and won't let go until I find someone else myself. Which I can't do this time. Too dangerous. So. I want them to be happy. I do. I don't like the pain, but my mind always knows: this will never work. Suffer briefly now and be done with it. Oh, but the ego, she gets in and shatters me. I want everyone I care about to be happy. But that little girl heart, she doesn't understand why she can't have what she wants. She just doesn't know what's good for her. And like a foolish, curious cat, she seeks out her own destruction--hand to a hot flame she knows will burn to the heart of her. Dwelling on a long-gone past, every now and then, but when it hits, it hits like a nail to the heart and despite all the attention--the sweet offerings from all over--she takes to the rotten flesh of a buried bone, and gnaws on it with her head in the sand. If only she could pledge allegiance like a dog, and gracefully not give a shit like a cat, man, these foolish luxury ruminations of a long-gone whatever-it-was would have dissolved into the sunset long ago, leaving room for the sunrises of this glorious east coast. We all deserve love. Even me. If I turn forward instead of back, whatever I find in front of me, is better than what's behind me.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...