Birmingham Burning

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.

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