Friday, April 04, 2008

Martin Luther King Jnr Martyred At the Lorraine

Martyred At the Lorraine

I can see Martin.

On that balcony.

Hosea. Jesse. Martin. Ralph.

But you will say,

my mind is playing tricks.

That was the night before,

right? Before

he gave that speech

to those garbage men,

going to Mason’s Chapel in pouring rain,

tired as he was.

Sure he would march.

But who would guess,

his final speech

would come in Memphis?

The baritone softly hums “Precious Lord,”

and he smiles.

Wrong again.

That was the day

it happened.

I can see Martin.

At that Negro motel.

He throws out his chest,

waves his hand as he speaks,


into the nip of an April twilight,

perhaps picturing his “four little children”:

a robust man, he tells

of what he sees atop the mountain—

in the land beyond,

in the view.

“Oh! . . . ”

The bullet pierced its intended,

and Ralph gently cradled

Martin’s dying head. Who, now,

will choose redemption,

suffering—to implement the dream?

I see Martin carried.

From the Lorraine.

A widening pool of still-warm blood

turns brown.

Helen Losse, “Making All Things New: The Redemptive Value of Unmerited Suffering in the Life and Works of Martin Luther King Jr.,” MALS thesis (Wake Forest University, 2000).

Source: ‘Martin Luther King Jnr Forty Years Gone’, Windows Toward the World, 4 April 2008

Image: Lorraine Motel, Memphis.