Lamont Palmer

(July 12th,1962 / Maryland)

April Of 68: Martin Luther King Is Dead


1.
News preempted news, upstaging clean air,
forced and stained against each open doorway,
while our faces were awash in speeches that cured.
Then the shot! Penetrating around the world,
Everything blackened, down to the clothes.
Pride created the luminous black ties,
And black handkerchiefs, at the sad ready,
(my classmates all had them, grievous wardrobe)
accessorizing that week against the chest
of boyhood and fear: morose little soldiers.
Someone (and something) was most certainly dead,
and April would share, with death, thoughts of spring.


Night. Mother's voice, unlike I had ever heard,
Dread and urgency, her new concoction,
From window to window, changed room to changed room.
'Where is your brother? He's supposed to
be in by 10pm.' Darkness, a curfew,
(my brother, out, in teen oblivion)
jeeps, soldiers, a city unlike its lit, wide self.
Heavy blood, shed for life's own heaviness:
the father of us, alive in the caustic crowds,
drank the podium pleasantries, food of leaders,
near dead, but soon wholly dead on the whole of night,
and warm laps where bleeding heads are held.
For me, a church boy, the New Testament, my story,
it was Judgement Day sweeping other days.
Looking toward the sky; expecting wrath,
I'm unprotected by deism, the doubter's gem.


2.
Nothing comes of guns but more guns. Smoke hurts:
smoke of insolent fire, we knew what it was,
in our dreams which lingered, long, like new jewels
from fresh caves - new and with a bemused shine.
Baltimore: never so much a fearsome scene;
to a boy, a world was growing, reaching toward
fiery doors; the year of heroes and holes.
That boy put his head in his mother's apron:
strings were like the ties that bound dead heroes.


3.
Glimmer of damage, of the hurt, crystal-shaped,
but felt, coldly and against these faces,
settled on middleclass blocks. Pictures, dour,
of those old blocks: what has died, lives
magnanimously, in wind, in tears, and chimes,
lost chimes, lost sounds, noted by desolation.
We were not political, just a family
(safe, we thought, on placid Annellen Road)
drenched in media's blood and perceptions,
splattered and spayed, transformed by the scene:
a decade of martyrs, falling like dark rain.

Submitted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Edited: Sunday, March 02, 2014

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (April Of 68: Martin Luther King Is Dead by Lamont Palmer )

Enter the verification code :

  • William F Dougherty (4/4/2012 7:17:00 PM)

    Commanding topical and public events of manic or magic moments takes confidence as well as craft.
    It stands up well and honestly. (Report) Reply

  • Shadow Girl (5/10/2011 10:48:00 AM)

    Fantastic imagery and symbolism. Great view point to view such a momentous event. Loved it. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Prayer and love, Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
  2. Not to be in surplus, Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
  3. Meteors, Ronald Chapman
  4. Volunteers, Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
  5. गोरबो इसिँनिफ्राइ -39, Ronjoy Brahma
  6. गोरबो इसिँनिफ्राइ -40, Ronjoy Brahma
  7. Evolution, Is It Poetry
  8. New Alarm Clock, Ronald Chapman
  9. Blue Octavo Haiku, Rachel Todd Wetzsteon
  10. Algonquin Afterthoughts, Rachel Todd Wetzsteon

Poem of the Day

poet Edgar Allan Poe

Kind solace in a dying hour!
Such, father, is not (now) my theme-
I will not madly deem that power
Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Jacques Prevert

 

Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]