Chuck Stewart

By Ayana Graham • 

A Poem Inspired by John Coltrane’s “Alabama.”

I’ve foreseen spirits, visitations
of death, fire eating off sheeted
breath, Sometimes I see the outline
of God’s back turned to me

Wretched hands stroke the lynch knot
and bear the karma of the lost little girls
There was no good outcome, I was born
as wood, a lit match splitting
open the four wounds, On this ground
This one sacred ground

And sometimes I envision God giving
life and breath to the babies, surely there is
justice, redemption, prayer, regard for life
I stand under God’s will
Every word a voice of reason

Things can’t always be this way
The path to righteousness is long but near
Follow the witnesses of Jim Crow
There might be strife on this trail
Grace at the tree’s root, We’re bound over the
the stream of life, our feet not yet ready to dangle

Lord knows things have changed, but not enough
The only sound is the screaming, the crying, the agony
We call the girls by their God-given names
Who God has called home and whispered to us in song
The bloodshed rises from ash into the earth into millions of little Black Children
Birmingham Burning

Ayana Graham is a public Relations Specialist by day, Pro-Black Womanist by night and a self love advocate who writes and dreams.