From the desks of Mayor Art Hanes and Commissioner Bull Conner; Birmingham, 1963:
ticktick, ticktick, ticktick:
Bull: they’ve begun to sing.
more of a chant.
you know—tribal, Bull.
on the wings of eagles
undoubtedly an odyssey
for the mind to endure
beautiful African art
on auction blocks
while the ghosts
of their past
sneer from the gallery
those ghosts remain
almost as if
they were chained
to the base
no where to turn
for a captive audience
of the primate exhibit
but hand to hand
on the glass and
we’re not so different
we are both victims
of our Fathers’
Ah, King Luther, you simply don’t understand the Art of Bull.
When the souls of your feet are feeling the beat,
and the souls of your streets are feeling the heat,
who’s to say this decay of the world as your oyster
has given you anything but the voice for
everything you wish to see in the world?
This is Birmingham calling you to the 16th Street altar!
You’re invited to watch the Movement of Nonviolence’s Ex remarry,
and when a—higher power—pulls you to your knees in prayer,
the Groom and his friend’s pets will put guns to your head
and rebaptize you as Martyr Lucifer.
A damn shame, too.
May as well call me elephant man with my ivory towers,
sitting my happy ass behind this desk with an ash-rimmed glass of whiskey,
but it’s a dog eat dog world,
and I hear my dogs run faster than yours.
It’s nothing personal, Marty; I’ve got nothing against you or your
Just keep in mind the people I’m sworn to serve—
and how unfortunate it is that I swear to them,
not the greater good.