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Martin Luther King Jr Memorial with Drum Major 4 Justice quote Associated Press Photo(Associated Press photograph of MLK Monument)

Is it being critical to point out that just like in the case of Nelson Mandela the Quotable Poet hasn’t given us any epic poems on Martin Luther King Jr.? Well it might be a little bit critical. Only in his case it’s not as bad or bitchy as it might seem if we were talking about a different Quotable Poet.

Fact of the of the matter is the main reason discussions about this one are hittin’ the boards is because the author himself posted on Facebook that he’s working on a major new prose piece about the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march on Washington. (Wasn’t that like 1 day before Michael Jackson’s fifth birthday???)

We can put that on the serious side of what he does so much better than a lot of writers of his generation. If he doesn’t represent something in poetry he covers it in nonfiction or fiction or journalism. And we’re not the only ones checkin’ out how hot that is. On his birthday he got a Twitter shout out from Radio Silence A New Magazine of Literature and Rock & Roll. After clicking on the link you got this blurb about the Quotable Poet:

“…He draws from a range of sources––from Langston Hughes to Jean Paul Sartre, Surrealism to Existentialism––and his poetry, novels, and nonfiction exhibit a similar range. He’s best known for co-authoring The Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance.”

When we mixed all that up we thought a good QP poem for August would be “Like It Is Us” from Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black because it deals with the things MLK dealt with. But FAIR WARNING: this poem is written in an African American folk dialect and contains the notorious n-word. Here it is.

Like It is Us

Down and down the road
we was walkin’, rain supposed
to be falling from
the western cloud but
it was mud, sliding down
the sky like some burnt
nigger’s blood, Eddy got scared
and wanted to go home, but
he was already in his bones.
You already in yo’ bones, said
Martha, so he shut up and leaned
on the crutch of her heart, she
smiled like an African tit
and tried to weave a cloth
of  the falling mud, David
laughed, said she wasn’t doing
it right, he’d already made
a tuxedo for hisself and we
all admitted he looked as
elegant as the Duke’s fingers
and we walked on down
and down and down down down
that road of absolutes, of
irrelativities and other snow-
colored words someone peed into
my brain years ago,  down way down
marching marching another century gone
the mud was falling like buckets full of night
it should have been rain
and the  sun skipped about
the western cloud, Eddy was scared
but it was ok for we each of us
knew the value of building huts
out of blood when necessary.
–from Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black by Aberjhani

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