Stone Mountain
is where the crosses burned
Where the crack of the flames
Licked Klansmen’s robes as they sipped sweet tea on the Mountain’s peak
Where southern belles toted jewel encrusted whips
Where blood is mixed into the granite
I grew up where the crosses burned
Where every droplet of water in the lake at the mountain’s base is a tear enshrined by the last prayers slaves gasped
As their necks snapped like the twigs they swung from
Where plantation houses still stand
Where on a hot day, the only mirage you’ll see is outlines black folk tilling the soil upon those lawns
Where you can still hear someone singing “Bring Me Little Water Sylvie”
Pleading to relieve their tongue of the day’s heat
I grew up in the Church of the confederacy
Pastor: Grand Wizard, Favorite hymn “Better Not be Here By Sundown”
I grew up in the Birth of a Nation
Took field trips to it’s womb
And climbed out over and over again
Cruelly reborn as the dream that the slave won’t let die
On one such journey toward reincarnation
I find myself unable to breathe
The only thing forcing air into my lungs
was King’s command to let freedom ring from this Georgia shrine to hate
as I look down from the summit
the upside-down face of Robert E. Lee carved into the stone stares back at me
As it has so many times before
But this time
I begin to laugh
The laughter outpaces my quickened pulse
I feel a spirit lift my arms and force my feet to dance
Cuz it’s the first time I realize
Every step I’ve taken has erased one of his
The eulogy to bigotry was sealed behind his unsmiling lips
Never to be read again
I grew up where the embers crosses shed
fertilized the land on which my home Was built
Where a black mother and a black father raised two black daughters, masterless
Where the gasped prayers of the negro
Became the promises of the state
Where shackles turned to sand
Where the bodies of little black boys and girls swing souls intact, not from rope, but from bungee cords in what is now Stone Mountain Park
Where the tears that stream from their faces are of delicious excitement, not terror.
Where the schools are a mosaic, not a porcelain slab
Where fists raise to break through the oppression
I grew up where the crosses burned

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