Tuesday, January 17 , 2017, 6:08 pm | Fair 59º


Ken Williams: A Poem for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

[Noozhawk’s note: Monday is Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday marking the birthday of the late civil rights leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.]

A man of color,
He had a dream of a promise without,               
A prophet to all regardless of color.
He became our hero, the gentle warrior.

Born into an era of violence.
The man’s heart without.
Knowing the corruption of violence.
Vowed nonviolent struggle, hate — without.

Violence mutilates the soul he told us.
What weapons to be used, he pondered?
To engage with love above all he told us.
Nonviolent resistance he promised.

A witness to the addiction to war, the evils of racism,
And hearing the cries of the economically wounded.
He confronted the powerful, stared down the racists,
Challenged the war makers, yet suffered with the warriors wounded.

Dr. King was merely a man.
Dr. King, a great man.
A nation believed in this common, uncommonly man,
Perched on a mountaintop, beckoning forward alike all mankind.

To honor the brave once dead,
So easy.
Who fights on behalf of the poor and homeless this day?
To fight the new injustices,
comes not easy.
Who confronts the war makers today?

For Dr. King love was to be glorified.
Love and non-violence were his kingdom,
Now wealth and fame are so glorious.
Today — hell of a thirty-clip gun is our glorious kingdom.

Dr. King is harmless.
Only if Dr. King is made harmless.
The puppet masters, the haters, those who lie with cold steel.
Money, our children’s innocence and their future they steal.

You may be brown enough to pick our food.
Brown enough for some to hate.
All colors made to dance for fools.
All human enough to fear the state that hates.

But only if Dr. King is harmless.
Only if Dr. King is made harmless.
Only if the Dream is rendered harmless.
Only if we play the fools—-not so harmless.

Ken Williams has been a social worker for the homeless for the past 30 years, and is the author of China White, Shattered Dreams: A Story of the Streets and his first nonfiction book, There Must Be Honor. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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