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Kelly Recalls 1963

By Reuben Jackson

I still call
The year 1963
Season of Nightmares
After Medgar Evers
Was killed I
Would lie awake
And wait for
My uncle Joe
To get home
Safely he and
My Aunt Blanche
Had the same
Carport Mr. Evers
Had I know
Because I read 
The story concerning
His assassination over
And over in
Ebony magazine even
When he my
Uncle was safely
Seated on the
Couch I could
Not sleep because
I now knew
That we were
Hated for being
Who we were
And are then
The four little
Girls in Birmingham
Died in that
Bombing who will
Protect us I
Asked the moon
On more than
One sleepless night



Listen as Reuben Jackson reads "Kelly Recalls 1963."

Added: Monday, November 4, 2019  /  Used with permission.
Reuben Jackson

Reuben Jackson (1956 - 2024) was an Archivist with the University of the District of Columbia's Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives. He was an Archivist and Curator with the Smithsonian Institution's Duke Ellington Collection from 1989 until 2009. From 2013 until 2018, he was host of Friday Night Jazz on Vermont Public Radio. His poems have been published in over 40 anthologies, and in two volumes entitled fingering the keys, which was reissued with new poems in October 2019 by Alan Squire Press, and Scattered Clouds. His music reviews have appeared in The Washington Post, Jazz Times, Downbeat, Jazziz, The Jazz Journalists Association website, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. He taught poetry for 11 years at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and taught high school for two years in Burlington, Vermont.

Other poems by this author