katharine gin
Marie Antoinette Osborne
2005
WritersCorps Open Mic
Mission High School
San Francisco, CA

Where Were You
for Dr. Martin Luther King

Stay with that dream
That makes you want to ring
Freedom!

Cause I too have a dream that stands in this time
Where you need more than a dime on these streets to survive.
I wish all of this would stop.
Youth killing each other with them silver shells.

Dr. King, please tell me,
What would you do if you'd seen
The things I see today?
Your brothers, my brothers
are taking each other's lives.

Levantay crosses the street into a rain of bullets.
People duck and scream as the blood from
His chest forms an ocean of hate.

I need guidance.
I gotta call on those before me
who also had that dream
That continues to ring
Freedom!

As EMTs give CPR, news cameras
form a circle to capture images of Levantay,
of the young lifeless body with their lenses
which take his soul and never return it.

Now follow me to this country, Iraq.
Look there. You see this man on his knees
with puffy eyes looking to the sky.
Now look around, there are weapons everywhere.
This country is being destroyed
and children are dying.
Please, Doctor King, I need guidance
in this world with so much violence.

Rosa Park's boycott was hard
like the concrete Levantay stained.
How will I take up your voice, Rosa,
to turn to America and speak these words
and ask these questions?

Where were you when this boy fell?

Walkin on the beach with your dog?
Did you hear the gunshot that
put the hole in his chest and the stain
on the sidewalk?

I was in the shower,
but I saw the stain.

If you look at the blood stain
you can still see his face.
It looks like the Girbaud Tee
he was wearin.

If you lean close and look
beyond the foot prints of the pedestrians
you can almost see his face expression
when the bullet hit him.

Examine the stain.
You can hear his last word
And almost smell his breath.

Some people say they can see
the imprint of the design of his freshly parted braids.
Some say they can see the shoe print
of his brand new Jordans.

My question to you is
where were you when this boy fell?

When this boy fell a grandma was
pulling fresh cookies out of an oven.

When this boy fell a man was
picking his 3-year-old up from day care.

When this boy fell a mother was
giving birth to her new baby boy
and she named him Levantay.

Where were you?

Dr. King, was that your body fallen on the sidewalk?
Are you speaking through me now?

Marie Antoinette Osborne
2005
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