A Poem: If I Must Die

Many, many, many years ago, I wrote poetry and fiction. And yesterday, I wrote again. I sat down with the intention to write a poem, and an hour or so later, this thing was basically formed. It isn't beautiful, it is not what I expected, and it is certainly "non-traditional," LOL but it is written. I wrote something. Rinse, repeat. Obviously, I wrote while thinking of Claude McKay's If We Must Die. His poem was written in the wake of the Red Summer of 1919, and I've seen bits and pieces of it floating around social media since the grand jury declined to indict in Ferguson, Missouri.

If I Must Die is dedicated to the families of Mr. Garner, Mr. Brown, Mr. Brisbon, Master Rice, Mr. Gurley, Mr. Hunt, Mr. White, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Tillman, Mr. Parker, Mr. Powell, Mr. Ford, Mr. Smith, Mr. Myers, Mr. Cochran, Mr. Woodson, Mr. Crawford, Ms. Smith, Mr. Brown, Ms. Moore, and of countless others, unknown but unforgotten.

Finally, I wrote this in honor of you and of me and in memory of the sixty million and more.

Like to hear it, here it go:

[audio wav="http://www.loryalexander.com/homepage/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Record_0009.wav"][/audio]

If I must die not at God's hands but man's
Pray no digit's Bible-sworn, to protect. If I die without blood on my own hands Fearless, I ask the public to reject The convenient explanations. Shout, "Next!" As the air fills with common lies so dense I can't breathe! But my breath's already spent In pre-pretrial against the state's Defense Strategies. "Cynic," you say, from the fence. But if I die, A Man shot by swine's Glock, In doubt, let the criminal trial commence. With Time's hands round my neck - tick-tock, tick-tock, I have one request - here, me, looking fine - Please, TV, show the cop's mugshot, not Mine.

It felt good to write again, even if I wish the subject were less grim.
PoetryLory Ivey Alexander