Churches in blood is old news. Our black churches
exist for solace from spilled blood, exist
to provide Christ and sanctuary; to
structure equality of color, structure
embrace of all who Bible study, embrace
Rough young man lost in hunt under church roof.
One witness left to tell the worst of one.
No screaming audio; no, “Please, no!” No
last calls to Jesus as nine bled their last.
Slaughter-stained battle flag flies after slaughter.
Forty-five, birthday gun a forty-five,
targeting beloved icon, hate’s best target.
Justice, black churches were built to find justice
not found outside the church, where white noose not
courts held sway, where knight riders were the courts.
Mercy, the murdered in prayer found no mercy.
Hatred is merciless. Church forgives hatred.
Under the vaults of heaven all go under.
Lester Graves Lennon was born and raised in New Rochelle, New York. He is an investment banker with a career in public finance that spans nearly 40 years. His first book of poetry, The Upward Curve of Earth and Heavens, was published by Story Line Press in 2002. It currently can be found in 70 public and university libraries including the Los Angeles Public Library, Yale, Oxford and the University of Wisconsin where he received his B.A. in English.His second book of poetry, My Father was a Poet, was published by WordTech Communications in 2013. His next book, Remember This, is expected in 2019. Mr. Lennon sits on the boards of directors of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and Red Hen Press. He serves on the advisory board of the English Department of the University of Wisconsin and is an ex officio member of the West Chester University Poetry Center. He is part of a group of poets that annually selects the Poets’ Prize, awarded to the best poetry book by an American author published in the previous year. He is a founding member of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Poet Laureate Task Force and has created a new poetry form called the Lennon Lyric. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Los Angeles megalopolis.
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