Beyond the Blindness of Memphis
by Kevin Gardner

We hold these truths to be self-evident.
    Thomas Jefferson

Dear God, Hear

my prayer. For man, for all man,
for me, hiding in the worn walnut pews
cloaked in the mighty sales pitch of the great declaration
sheltered from the albino aftermath,
knee-bound before You. We shall overcome
Grant this humble servant, this White
Man, soiled son of the Garden, self evident son of Monticello,
the unalienable power
to pursue peace. Honest, shackle-free, peace of the
everyman soul. We shall overcome
Provide me, pro-
testant believer,
Piqued in the pursuit of happiness.
the fullness of the phrase
One nation under god.
Indivisible. We shall overcome,

When the children of the Edmund Pettus Bridge,
with bewildered bitter tears,
and weary, heard it all before voices
ask why,
open my ears, open my eyes. Someday
Beyond, far beyond, the Amistad, and the auction block,
beyond the blindness of Memphis and the back of the bus, beyond
My White Anglo Saxon Protestant existence. Oh, deep in my heart
Beyond the pleasures of Plenty, that American Wonderbread Mcdream.
Holier-than-thou, he stands face to face with Want's dusky shadow,
and shrugs his broad shoulders. I still believe

Deep in Memphis, bursting with a dream,
burdened with the heaviness of history, we shall overcome,

Allow the voice of a million marching men to ring,
and rise above my humble words,
with liberty and justice for all.


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