I have stood on your steps, Lincoln,
my soul has been reflected
by the murky mirror of your pond,
petitioning my heart for answers
to questions I fear may go unresolved.
Oh mighty Washington!
My nervous eyes are open wide
against your tower of integrity,
coercing me into the assertive belief
that a monument must assume
history has once been worthy of remembrance.
Why is it then,
when I pass through Church and Brambleton,
I am perpetually saddened to remember that Dr. King,
one of history’s proudest figures of abundant love,
has found his bright Dream stifled
into a hidden, outlying, humbled, dark black steeple
as the Mecca of the hood and the ghetto;
while the Confederate soldier, on his city soapbox,
imposes himself in bone-white granite on Main Street,
amongst the gentrified buildings and businesses
that furnish the old cobblestone pavements
of tradition, bleeding with pride?
Show me how we become
Is it when we erect stone and marble
for men that have snuffed out
the light and voice of other people,
yet continue to ignore the cries of freedom
belted out by those still yearning for change?
I know that greatness is only achieved
when our monuments of oppression are demolished,
when every walk of life is celebrated,
when all people join hands as children,
when judgment is scarce and love abounds,
when hate is hardly memory.
These monument’s construction may be delayed,
but never discontinued, so long as we persevere
in the face of adversity, injustice, and persecution.