WATCH: April 5, 1968, a poem by Eve L. Ewing

“Fifty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., a new work by acclaimed poet Eve L. Ewing evokes the day Madison Street burned.

April 5, 1968
a poem by Eve L. Ewing

Our country is over, you see. Here lies
my prettiest baby, and her glass fingertips are
all over the tar. In the before I told
her, ‘play, beloved,’ and
from the storefront piano came legends
of the mountaintop and it made
me weep. I was an ugly phoenix
but our dirt was our own. As the sun rises
now I know what we do is right. Unafraid
I stand before the skinny boy with the
bayonet & say ‘before I’ll be an ashen ghost, black
gone gray at your hand like our dead philosopher,
I’ll burn my own, you see, just the way I want, & you will
know it’s mine.’ Goodbye, Madison. I will remember
my country, my sun-up town. Because there
on the mountaintop I saw the fire in the valley.

Read and hear the full poem at Chicago Magazine

April 5, 1968, a poem by Eve L. Ewing regarding the 1968 Riots on Madison Street read by Eve L. Ewing, Chicago Magazine, April 2018


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