Saturday, April 23, 2011

An Experiment in Integration

the talk of fearful men
the determined resistance of reactionary forces
the hard cold facts of racial life
unmatched in the annals of history
an endless reign of meaningless chaos
confronted, exposed, and dealt with

strict enforcement of the “separate,” without the slightest intention to abide by the “equal”
a strange dichotomy of disturbing dualism
they adjust themselves
they very seldom do it voluntarily

a child’s mind is crippled daily
the easygoing optimism of yesterday is impossible
their own tender souls
tokens of integration
seated behind a curtain in a dining car
an overflowing love
covered up with such niceties of complexity

our deep groans and passionate yearnings for freedom
plagued by rats and roaches
rocks and sticks and eggs and cherry bombs
bricks and bottles
shocked at the venom they poured out
life as a madhouse of violence and degradation
it is pretty difficult to like someone bombing your home

president of the resistance
did not long survive the rejection and condemnation
forced out of his sacred office
because he responded to the human need that he was presented with
entering the area of human rights
a brief period of eminence
projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives

it is more important to get at the cause than to be safe
struggle must never inflict injury upon another

what is needed is a strategy for change

respond to goodness
revolt against the myth of time
adjourn the councils of despair
put an end to the chain of violence in the world
refuse to cooperate with evil
become real and complete
close the gap in broken community by meeting hate with love

seek to transform the suffering into a creative force
a strange and possibly nonsensical way
to win freedom from every form of oppression
an impractical idealist or a dangerous radical
rabblerousers and agitators
never assume that anyone understands

this is a tedious task which may take years
solved in the sphere of practical action
make a career of humanity

to walk the streets in dignity
boldly and brazenly
one march is seldom successful
to arouse, to organize, and to educate
to suffer in a creative manner
we can walk and never get weary
the voices, the feet, and the bodies
intermingled like the waters of a river
a turbulent ocean beating great cliffs into fragments of rock
standing amid the surging murmur of life’s restless sea
the shores of history are white with the bleached bones
nonviolence or nonexistence
the end is preexistent in the means

there is something unfolding in the universe
some creative force that works for universal wholeness
the hearts and souls of those committed to it
deep faith in the future
no stopping point short of full freedom
all humanity is involved in a single process
virtually every door is open to us
ours is a great time in which to be alive

Each line in the poem comes from Martin Luther King's writings on nonviolence, which I then remixed into this piece. Text fragments taken from Nonviolence and Racial Justice; The Most Durable Power; The Power of Nonviolence; An Experiment in Love,;Speech Before the Youth March for Integrated Schools; My Trip to the Land of Gandhi; The Social Organization of Nonviolence; Suffering and Faith; Love, Law, and Civil Disobedience; Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom; and A Gift of Love.

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