Birmingham, 1963


United States
33° 32' 21.9336" N, 86° 40' 16.2552" W

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.
Transmission follows:

glorious theocracy
unbearable atrocity
on the wings of eagles

utter theodicy
undoubtedly an odyssey
for the mind to endure

beautiful African art
proudly displayed
on auction blocks

while the ghosts
of their past
sneer from the gallery

irony possibly
how faithfully
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’
illegitimate sons


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.


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