Jackson State, May 14-15,1970 & Kent State 10 Days Before - Poem by Luke Easter
It’s Jackson, Mississippi in the middle of sunny May,
College students gathered for a rowdy protest cops say,
Aware of an incident in Kent State Ohio 10 days before,
The National Guard opened fire where they killed four.
They gathered, created fires, overturned cars 9: 30 P.M.,
To protect the fire department local police were called in,
Fireman put out fires cops moved them to a dormitory,
Here is where we get to the confusing part of the story.
Seventy-five armed & trained personnel it’s 12: 05 A.M.,
In front of Alexander Hall is where the melee begins,
Police open fire lasting 30 seconds the motive’s unclear,
Some claim there’s a sniper but gunfire they didn’t hear.
Believing the sniper to be in a window on an upper floor,
Firing 140 shots but at the height of a ground level door,
If that’s true why advance and not take cover to be safe?
In their cruisers, behind buildings, smart thing was to wait.
And if the responding units were in fear of sniper fire,
Shouldn’t the officers have been aiming much higher?
Because the culprit would have been nowhere around,
The innocent unarmed students fired at on the ground.
Only two city cops, one officer from the highway patrol,
Were injured from flying glass and not the sniper? Oh!
Aftermath investigation by our nations highest, The FBI,
Searched for evidence of their claim and? Well, they lied.
Some of the patrol guys used shotguns from 30-50 feet,
Needless to say there was mass chaos on Lynch Street,
The students swear that the officers they didn’t provoke,
75 well armed vs.1 maybe assailant so the cops choked?
Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green are dead,
But, the latter was killed behind police lines it is said,
Cut down in an area opposite of the, “savage” crowd,
By the murderous blast of a shotgun deadly and loud.
Twelve others were wounded but there is a slight catch,
Incident’s fourty years old, no one’s been indicted yet,
Do you think that’s bad, it gets more bizarre just wait,
There were hearings in LA, Washington & Kent State.
I’m sorry, why places other than the scene of the crime?
No wonder there are no charges with no one doing time,
The commission did conclude unreasonable, unjustified,
A broad barrage of gunfire in which two students died.
That’s it? There were many rumors about throwing rocks,
Earlier at passing cars with no injuries but not at the cops,
Supposedly, a rumor of Mr. & Mrs. Charles Evers killed,
So the 9: 30 incident was the reason for the “riot” but still.
There were no reports of any injuries or students being armed,
In other words aside from a few vehicles no one was harmed,
As authorities opened fire there was a reason nothing shot back,
Those students were victims of an unprovoked vicious attack.
Memorial’s at Gibbs-Green Plaza, multi level brick & concrete,
A patio & mall east of the JSU campus blocking off Jackson St.,
There’s a large stone monument right in front of Alexander Hall,
Visible damage caused by police ammo, did I mention the mall?
Isn’t it amazing, today we can Google Jackson or Kent State,
Forty years later through the photographs experience the fate,
Make that almost, because all of the pictures simply cannot,
No matter how clear we’ll never be able to relive being shot.
To witness death and destruction via the news in Nam was hard,
But turned on by our own police departments & National Guard?
Simply by exercising our own guaranteed 1st Amendment Rights,
So, a mall, a memorial and named streets, now makes it all right?
The Beach Boys, yeah those guys of the 60’s & 70’s Rock & Roll,
Wrote a song, “Student Demonstration Time” how did 2 lines go?
“Nothing much was said about it & really next to nothing done
The pen is mightier than the sword but no match for a gun.'
Mid-Western Whites of Ohio and Southern Mississippi Blacks,
Under the guise of, “Law & Order” were senselessly attacked,
For having a voice against the war by the oppression of such,
With 4 decades of opportunity, what has changed? Not much.
Allison Krause, Jeffery Miller, William Schroeder, Sandra Scheuer, KSU,
Hey! I will bet you a college diploma you thought this poem was through,
Well, no degree or graduation date from these four will never materialize,
Meet the student casualties protesting at Kent State who lost their lives.
But wait, couldn’t of been a sniper taking place at 12: 24 in the afternoon,
The sun was out, nothing to be hidden by the dark secrets of the moon,
1 rock 1 injured cop, many guardsmen claimed to be in fear of their lives,
Negligence and reckless abandon, some hit by gunfire were passing by.
One click from the camera of Kent State photojournalism student John Filo,
Captured kneeing over death was 14 year-old runaway Mary Ann Vechhio,
Shot in the mouth, lying face a down, a daily occurrence in Viet Cong heat,
But a quiet college campus oceans from the war in the middle of the street?
Three less suffered lead poisoning at Kent so, are all wounds heal by time?
Dean Kahler is unable to leave his wheelchair, how can it leave his mind?
AKA, “The May 4th Massacre” by who ever as it is more commonly known,
Believe it or not but no place in the world is always going to be a safe zone.
A Pulitzer Prize winning photograph now an enduring image of the conflict,
Uncle Sam never officially called it war but so many lives lost take your pick,
Like Iraq & Afghanistan today we were in a country we should not have been,
As presidents who have never tasted, “incoming” still keep sending them in.
Comments about Jackson State, May 14-15,1970 & Kent State 10 Days Before by Luke Easter
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Still I Rise
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Edgar Allan Poe
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You