Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Burning Black Churches

It's dark at four PM in Leeds the steeples pierce the skylight till the last of it bleeds
The absent sound of another day as it recedes into the shadows until it's nothing
Fax papers slipped under the hotel room door like food for the prisoner or the prospect to the whore
Well fed and halfway drunk I ache myself for more until I'm shadows of myself until I'm nothing
Sixteen black churches burning on the TV all the way from Texas to Tennessee
a politician locks my eye and says to me there is no crisis here there's no conspiracy
I crave inertia every move made so I can stop
Whatever this madness is in me spinning like a top on a bed of anxiety
over a deep dark drop down into nothingness into withoutyouness
Was it ever so evil creep like ivy, toe hold on the stronger half of nature's dichotomy
Beating back a path through nothing more than pure insistence
Until here becomes the distance
Hold my head love I'm sick tonight find the open hole and press your finger
there with all your might before the last ounce of my spirit bleeds
onto the pristine sheets of the hotel bed in Leeds

--The Indigo Girls, "Leeds" Shaming of the Sun 

"Leeds" is one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite musical acts, The Indigo Girls. I thought of it when I read this post. Michael Brown, Sr. is the father of the 18-year-old Michael Brown, Jr, a black teenager who was shot and killed in August by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO. Last night after 8pm it was announced that the grand jury did not indict Officer Wilson. Protests and riots ensued. Buildings and police cars were burned down. Stores were looted. It was chaos. As expected. Our country has a long history of race riots.

Another building a mile away from the rioting also burned last night. But why? None of the other buildings around it were affected. It was far from the rioting crowds. Why would someone torch it?

The building is a church. The church that Michael Brown, Sr. belongs to. That's why. As expected. White supremacists have been burning down black churches for a long time. During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, and even recently. It's nothing new.

Imagine for a moment that you are Michael Brown, Sr. Your son was killed. The killer got off. Now they've burned down your church. They take your son and leave you no place to grieve.

I pray for peace. I pray for justice. I pray that Michael Brown, Sr. finds another place to grieve.