FOR MALCOLM by Raymond R. Patterson.

When they shot Malcolm Little down
On the stage of the Audubon Ballroom,
When his life ran out through bullet holes
(Like the people running out then the murder began)
His blood soaked the floor
One drop found a crack through the stark
Pounding thunder-slipped under the stage and began
Its journey: burrowed through concrete into the cellar,
Dropped down darkness, exploding like quicksilver
Pellets of light, panicking rats, paralyzing cockroaches-
Tunneled through rubble and wrecks of foundations,
The rocks that buttress the bowels of the city, flowed
Into pipes and power lines, the mains and cables of the city:
A thousand fiery seeds.

At that moment,
Those who drank water where he entered…
Those who cooked food where he passed…
Those who burned light while he listened…
Those who were talking as he went, knew he was water
Running out of faucets, gas running out of jets, power
Running out of sockets, meaning running along taut wires –
To the hungers of their living. It was said
Whole slums of clotted Harlem plumbing groaned
And sundered free that day, and disconnected gas and light
Went on and on and on …
They rushed his riddled body on a stretcher
To the hospital. But the police were too late.
It had already happened….

Raymond Patterson

Category: Celebration of Blackness,