I was not in Mississippi when the crosses were burning.
My eyes were not even born to see history’s page turning.
A time, a distance far from me and you,
Like Columbus in fourteen ninety two.
I look out the window,
A church built with ancient stone.
So many things to know,
Too much for one alone.
So I rely on the Word
And the thing I have heard.
I knew Emit Till,
His blood cries out still.
All the sins that man has done,
To list every one,
Would take an eternity.
A journey of misery.
I was not in Mississippi when the crosses were burning,
But the honest are still learning.
Would you take my hand?
And try to understand,
The inner workings of the brain
And why I went insane.
Jesus hanging on your cross.
Was your mind at loss?
When the soldier pierced your side
And Mother Mary cried.
“My son, my son, he was crucified?”
I was there
on that terrible day
I was aware!
What a price to pay!
Bi Polar disorder is the proper term.
Give a little smile and a handshake firm.
And they world will never know
The madness that lurks below.
I think of my fellow kin
Sufferers of all walks and not one skin
The vacant lost look in our eyes
The distraught appearance none can disguise.
We walk in a shuffle clothes torn
We talk in a mumble as we mourn.
I have seen the rich
I have seen the poor
I have felt the pain
Of that I am sure.
Mister money bags delights in his possessions
Never learning life’s most sacred lessons.
Like the Love of Tom who I will never forget
Who gave me his last cigarette.
God have mercy on my friend
I cannot see and now pretend
That all is splendid and all is well
Cause many of us are living in hell.
John he was in the Korean War
Something that hurt him I am sure.
We’d throw our butts on the ground
As least when John wasn’t around.
John would come with his broom
He’d sweep the lot and every room
He’d ask us all to spare a dime
Since when is being poor a crime?
Yeah John he’d sweep and sweep and sweep
Others would just sadly weep
We had nothing all blessings were gone
But we stood together even with John.
John would collect the butts you know
And collect all the extra tobacco
If it wasn’t so sad it would be a joke
But John always managed to get one more smoke.
Smoke that would rise to sting our eyes
As crosses were burning fueled by lies.
Look at me I am a man
Going crazy was not my plan
Why do you laugh at what God made?
Why when we are near are you afraid?
Jesus cast out Legion they were much
Oh sweet Lord I need your touch
Crucifying you Jesus that was enough shame
Must they add to your torment with flame?
Just because they were black?
Just because of the sanity I lack?
Burn o cross, burn and tell
Why those who lit you deserve hell
I have seen the man with money
He laughs a lot but nothings funny
Always thinks about material things
Can’t understand the King of Kings
Was there something I want said?
Before they come to bury the dead
Manic Depression is bad Schizophrenia is worse
But it all don’t matter when you’re in a hearse
Like King Tut you can have a coffin of gold
Perhaps you’ll be a legend and your tale told
But when King Jesus looks you in the eye
He will know the truth from a lie
As ye have done to them you have done to me
How please tell me what is your plea?
Guilty of greed
Guilty hoarding while so many in need
Guilty, Guilty of shame
Not caring for the homeless when they came
Guilty, Guilty of a stare
When you looked at a mad man and didn’t care.
Oh and Jesus one more charge to hold to me
I burned a cross in Mississippi
Wrath of man availeth naught
As all the battles man has fought
I wage a war deep inside
A battle that I cannot hide
Psychiatrists, blood tests and all the colorful pills
Slows down my thought and my organs it kills
But anything is better than being locked away
And not see the sun shine in the day
We are sensitive creatures we insane
We the hidden horrors so vivid and plane
We suffer at words harsh and bitter
We weep for the animals and mourn for the litter
And nothing can make us well
Nothing can cure our hell
Yet we go on with our life
Though some give up by pill or knife
When I was a child I was abused
Now as a man I am all confused
But I thank God as I look above
That Jesus came and taught me Love
He taught me to forgive
So in grace I live
In this war we take many a loss
It all just part of bearing our cross
Words on the pages, words on the pages
To be tossed in the garbage or to live for ages?
I look again at the church of stone
Trees tower over it long have they grown
A tree is something good
From it we get our wood
Would it build a house or a store
May we build crosses no more
Do not make me a winner
Do not tell me you are not a sinner
Do not give me your prize
Do not tell me your lies
In Mississippi they say things are better
That the people they all live together
I know the truth for I have my curse
I don’t know you, BUT YOU DON’T KNOW ME.
But I believe we all struggle to be free
And that is why I write my verse
I look at the church with many a stone
Hoping deep down that we have indeed grown
We all are in chains none are without sin
Will crosses burn once more in flame?
Will a fourth Reich rise in shame?
I know not but I know where you’ve been.
John Kaniecki describes himself:
John Kaniecki is a poet and science fiction writer. His poems have appeared in over fifty venues including Jerry Jazz. He views words not only to have a beauty but also the power to transform society for the better. His poetry book Murmurings of a Mad Man and his science fiction book Words of the Future are exciting reads. John has been married to his lovely bride Sylvia from Grenada for over ten years. The couple is very active in the Church of Christ at Chancellor Avenue which is located in the South Ward of Newark, New Jersey.