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. Prior to becoming poetry editor for Rosebud magazine he was an investment banker whose career in public finance spanned more than 40 years. His first book of poetry, The Upward Curve of Earth and Heavens, was published when he was 54, and can be found in 70 public and university libraries including UC Berkeley, Yale, Oxford and the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he received his B.A. in English.His second book of poetry, My Father Was a Poet, was published in 2013. He recently completed his third book, Lynchings: Postcards from America, scheduled to be published by WordTech Communications in January, 2022.Mr. Lennon sits on the board of directors of the Community of Writers and is a member of the Board of Visitors for the English Department at the University of Wisconsin. He was part of a group of poets that selected the Poets’ Prize, awarded to the best poetry book by an American author published in the previous year.He is a past member of the board of directors for Red Hen Press and the Poetry Center at West Chester University.He is a founding member of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Poet Laureate Task Force and lives with his family in the Los Angeles megalopolis.
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