Human (Written Jan 2012, posted by request)

There was a preacher in the 60’s
His father was alleged to be a Klansman
But he was cut from a different mold
He worked tirelessly to integrate churches
Set up stings to catch restaurants
that refused to serve minorities
When Swastikas were found painted
on the homes of two black families
He personally walked the streets
Comforting African-Americans
And encouraging white families not to move
Counted among his supporters were
Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Harvey Milk
And Black Panther co-founder Huey Newton
To this day…
He is best know for facilitating the mass suicide
of over 900 people in Jonestown, Guyana

There was another preacher in the 60’s
He was well known to be an adulterer
So much so that at the time of his passing
His widow requested records of FBI surveillance to be sealed
To prevent the tarnishing of his image
He shared the company of three women on the day that he died…
He is best remembered
For his civil rights work
Nobel Peace Prize
The national holiday named in his honor
And his speech entitles “I Have a Dream”

I had a friend
When I got the keys to my loft
He was the first one in my apartment
Even before I had furniture
When I bought my first home
He and his wife were present for the housewarming
When my girl and had no place to go for Thanksgiving
He invited us to his mother’s home
He spent his spare time
Working to provide a platform for aspiring artists
Who had yet to find an audience…
He now stands accused of the murder of his wife

As human beings
We are neither our best nor our worst actions
We are complex creatures
Angels with crooked halos
Teetering on a tight-rope
Two steps from heaven
And one fatal sin from falling into the infinite abyss
A see of stone-casters
Living in glass-walled suburban developments
With entrances adorned by Pearly Gates
Preaching righteousness through the intercom
When maybe…
Just maybe it isn’t the devil we’re afraid of letting inside
But rather mirror-toting messengers
Sent from heaven
To give us a glimpse of ourselves
Do you like what you see?
If you can’t answer yes to that question my friends
Fear not, there’s still hope
For today is the first day of the rest of your lives
So let it be your life’s mission
To make each day better than the last
You may not be able to control your legacy
But you can control your destiny

Copyright © 2012 Christopher Shawn Barker


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