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Let’s talk about America’s History
It’s full of lies and that’s no myst’ry
Thinkin’ ‘bout people yearning to breathe free
Who cast a whole race into slavery.
King George the Third was a greedy fool
But all his people were greedy too
‘Cause they thieved the land of the natives then
Made treaties which they broke again!
Through all of this there was one thing:
America despised the King.


When the slaves were freed by President Lincoln
America did some serious thinkin’
They couldn’t live with a free Negro
So they offered Laws they called Jim Crow
“Sep’rate but Equal” was their call
‘Twasn’t nothin’ equal here at all.
Those laws had stood for decades long
While the whites in charge got big and strong
Their economic slavery was taken up
But ev’ntu’lly people got wakin’ up.

A voice cried out in our defense
And he led us out of the wilderness
A minister, a religious man
And his thought and motives made a plan
To bring about some serious change
And though to some, his thoughts were strange
He charged ahead, no time to wait
For a “land of the free,” intent on hate!
The plan was sound, except one thing
America despised a King.

Through boycotts, work, protests and action
This King fought for some satisfaction
For our people beaten down so long
The hope was short, the battle long.
Starting out crawling, he helped us to stand
But he helped everyone to understand
Just what this meant to a country divided
And how we needed to be united.
And after those extended fights
At long last, we got our Civil Rights.

No law can change a people’s feelings
And race hate was the standard dealing
You’re only allowed so much success,
Blocks in pursuit of happiness.
We don’t like you! Go away!
Wrapped in robes of the K-K-K.
In spite of this, the fight went on
Our King taught us to stand up strong
He said don’t worry about a thing
But America despised a King.

Then came Memphis, King took the mike
A sanitation workers’ strike
The Doctor stood, almost clairvoyant
And delivered a sermon incredibly poignant
About his past and present there
His future shone, without a care
His words were brilliant, hearts were filled!
Next day, that King was shot and killed.
That cowardly murder, sneak attack
Designed to bend that movement’s back…

But all of that was yesteryear
Hope and Change replacing fear.
Where do we stand? In some ways worse,
Because of a hate that’s so perverse
And rooted in a basic lie
That does not seem to want to die.
Nobody hands you a revolution
So, the point is the solution
Might be that throughout this fight,
Maybe Malcolm X was right?

* This was based on a prompt from Week 4 of LJ Idol, a quote taken from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Sermon in Memphis, dated April 3, 1968: “Nobody can ride your back if your back's not bent.”

Comments

( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
x_disturbed_x
Apr. 6th, 2014 06:56 pm (UTC)
This piece really makes you think. In some cases we've gone backwards and hopefully this doesn't continue. :/
penpusher
Apr. 6th, 2014 08:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading, and commenting. I still have hope for Dr. King's way!
elledanger
Apr. 6th, 2014 07:11 pm (UTC)
A really great and powerful piece with a lovely rhythm to it that pulls the reader all the way through. And a really great strong and clear message.
penpusher
Apr. 6th, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much for a wonderful compliment!
eska818
Apr. 6th, 2014 08:12 pm (UTC)
oh dang, poetry, and it even rhymes. I'm jealous. ._.

Very well done! ^.^
penpusher
Apr. 6th, 2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
As soon as I saw the topic, I knew this was going to be a poem. It would have been best if I could have done it spoken word style as I envisioned, but I hoped it would work by reading, too.

Thank you!
cheshire23
Apr. 10th, 2014 03:32 am (UTC)
It did. Very much so.
rayaso
Apr. 6th, 2014 11:02 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed this very much. It must have been extremely difficult to write a rhymed poem of this length!
penpusher
Apr. 6th, 2014 11:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks a lot! Ideally this would have been recited spoken word style, but I wasn't quite up for that. Glad you liked!
low_delta
Apr. 6th, 2014 11:48 pm (UTC)
Nice.
penpusher
Apr. 7th, 2014 02:30 am (UTC)
Thanks!
kagomeshuko
Apr. 7th, 2014 03:13 am (UTC)
This is a great piece! It's fun to read and it is deep, too.
penpusher
Apr. 7th, 2014 02:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading it, and for commenting!
i_17bingo
Apr. 7th, 2014 08:49 am (UTC)
America despised a King.

So many people forget that Martin Luther King Jr. wasn't quite as revered back then as he is today. This was brilliantly done.
penpusher
Apr. 7th, 2014 02:22 pm (UTC)
It's so true that "revisionist history" does tend to make people forget what actually happened... sometimes within a person's own lifetime!

Thanks for a great compliment!
onda_bianca
Apr. 8th, 2014 12:29 am (UTC)
Nicely done.
penpusher
Apr. 8th, 2014 01:41 am (UTC)
Thanks very much!
halfshellvenus
Apr. 8th, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
I really liked the contrast in a despised King who abused power to one who fought for freedom. Both were hated, but only one deserved to be.

I sometimes also worry that we're going backwards. Many of the wrongest people sure aren't afraid to be loud. :(
penpusher
Apr. 8th, 2014 01:43 am (UTC)
Just reading twitter or tumblr can ruin one's day, depending on what you see! That's why I came running back to LJ!

Thanks for reading.
beautyofgrey
Apr. 8th, 2014 12:59 am (UTC)
Very nice! The last stanza packs quite a punch. I would love to hear this as a spoken word performance.
penpusher
Apr. 8th, 2014 01:45 am (UTC)
If I had a bit of time, I would have done a video of it, but it just didn't work out with my schedule. But thanks for reading, and commenting!
goldmourn
Apr. 8th, 2014 06:27 am (UTC)
Bravo!
penpusher
Apr. 9th, 2014 01:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
roina_arwen
Apr. 9th, 2014 04:59 am (UTC)
Yay poetry! :)
penpusher
Apr. 9th, 2014 01:45 pm (UTC)
And yay right back for reading!
eternal_ot
Apr. 9th, 2014 05:36 am (UTC)
An Excellent Homage ! well done indeed..:)
penpusher
Apr. 9th, 2014 01:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much.
solstice_singer
Apr. 9th, 2014 05:54 am (UTC)
Normally, I'm not a huge poetry fan, but I loved this. It told a story full of truth. Not sugar-coated truths. Not necessarily poetic truths, but definitely truths that needed to be spoken.

Nicely done.
penpusher
Apr. 9th, 2014 01:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad it rang true with you! But ultimately, I wished it didn't.
whipchick
Apr. 9th, 2014 03:01 pm (UTC)
Great rhythm, and I love how many meanings you tease out of "King."
penpusher
Apr. 11th, 2014 02:21 am (UTC)
Thanks! I was trying several things with the piece. It probably would have been more obvious if I got to do a spoken word version... But thanks for reading!
itsjustc
Apr. 10th, 2014 10:13 am (UTC)
A really wonderful and powerful piece with a really strong and clear message.
penpusher
Apr. 11th, 2014 02:21 am (UTC)
Thanks for giving it a look and for a great compliment!
i_will_not_say
Apr. 10th, 2014 03:27 pm (UTC)
This was an impressive piece. You did a really good job with it!
penpusher
Apr. 11th, 2014 02:22 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!!
adoptedwriter
Apr. 10th, 2014 05:32 pm (UTC)
This is great! Love the rhymes. AW
penpusher
Apr. 11th, 2014 02:22 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading and commenting!
karmasoup
Apr. 10th, 2014 10:37 pm (UTC)
This has got a nice cadence to it.
penpusher
Apr. 11th, 2014 02:23 am (UTC)
I was hoping it would move at an intense pace so I'm glad you liked that element!
kajel
Apr. 10th, 2014 11:48 pm (UTC)
I loved the rhythm of this!
penpusher
Apr. 11th, 2014 02:24 am (UTC)
Thanks for giving it a read!
( 41 comments — Leave a comment )

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