Dream to Rise

an ode to MLK and Maya

on the 50th anniversary of his death

and the 90th anniversary of her birth

Dream to Rise

I was raised on an island

   So to speak

  A Southern California oasis

       Of white privilege

         White bread

         White T-shirts

         White sweat socks


Now privilege didn’t mean wealth

   But spoke of a freedom

     We took for granted

Exempt from inhumane laws

   That stripped dignity from souls

   Robbing them of their “inalienable rights”

For the crime of being born other…

     Black, Brown, Yellow, Red


In time we heard the stories

   They filtered through

     The walls of our ignorance

   Much as the sun diffused through

     Our shuttered Venetian blinds

So tight we closed our eyes

   But we couldn’t close our ears

     Until your voice, Dr. King

     And your spirit, Ms. Angelou

       Stirred us from coma


Your dream lives on, Reverend

   In the hopeful hearts of the cleansed

     For “free at last, free at last”


And still we rise, Dame Maya

  (If I may accord you regal honor)

     For rising above the “bitter twisted lies”


Like the fledgling who pecked his way

   From the constraint of his shell

     And then flew in the draft of eagles

Yes, it’s taken me a lifetime

   But…I have a dream that somehow

     Someday I may make a difference

     And move one more heart

       To rise from hate and intolerance

       On to the path of love and acceptance


Lord, move my spirit with theirs to rise

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