On Conjuring King: A Poem

American exceptionalism
is built on revisionist history.
Ability to erase with ease
Hard to resist resurrecting
once deemed anti-American martyrs into saints.
Carving into palatable pieces
Peddle forgiveness/unity
Absent of atonement
In the name
of a battle tested/battle worn/battle torn
patriot/African violet in the valley
who deemed protest a necessary part of peace.

America’s tongue
is not built for bitter.
Easier to swallow the sweet
sanitize bloody battlefield
reducing foot soldiers to footnotes.
Easier to allow it lost on us
King rose early on an April morn
to march for life/liberty/pursuit of happiness eluding the least of us.

What must we make of a vampire land
thirsty for Black blood since it’s inception?
What must we make of a man
with the constant clipping of death at his heels
yet pressed towards the mark of freedom’s call?
Put legacy on the line
pushed against the waves of war,
rested in the tension of resistance.

Easier to forget
four fatherless children, a widow.
Chisel him down to fit comfort zones
stuffed neatly in safe secure sentences.
Easier to conjure King in the midst of tragedies/riots/movements
paint him over like blond hair blue eyed Jesus
enlisting excerpts without context
used as a tool to crucify his kin
crushing unheard vocal chords.

American ego offers no healing
hallow hearted soulless service
empty unmoved hours
a veil to cover guilt in gut
a balm to gloss over ambition

Easier to forget
the foundation of the mountaintop
is built in the valley
Where sun often hides from sight.
Reaping from revolution requires risk
Present privilege as a living sacrifice
Shed the cocoon of creature comforts
Service should sanctify
Reveal flaw-filled reflections
Challenge to transform
Consistently calling us to lift the weight of anchors
Wade through the waters of inequality
Trusting the tide of justice to bring us ashore
Placing our feet on the promise land

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