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Saturday, October 05, 2013


by Daniel Patrick Roche

An ivory mockery of King erected
in the shadows of two slave owners
and the Great Emancipator.
Carved in a foreign land
erected with scab labor
it is a monument--
to Establishment ignorance
rather than to the man himself.

The misunderstanding of its subject
carved upon its walls.
"I was a drum major for justice,
peace and righteousness.”
And then later chipped away,
corrected, like a poor student
unwilling to parade his ignorance.

King died defending workplace dignity.
He is not memorialized by hard white rock
hewn from the earth by exploited peoples
working in unsafe working conditions
for substandard pay, if the pay ever comes.
His legacy is diminished by it.
Go, shutter the Mall.
Hide this porcelain disgrace
from the eyes of workers
furloughed during the pissing match
after five years of frozen wages.
Perhaps they will remember the man
when this graven image is out of sight.

Daniel Patrick Roche is a political organizer and writer living in Northern California. An alumnus of UC Berkeley, he has worked for Nevada for Change, Joe Sestak for Senate, and Diego Bernal for San Antonio City Council District 1.