Just like a river that knows where it's going,
your feet have kept you like the Wise Men
headed for the North star.
There was no fat cat with pockets full enough.
There was no pothole deep enough.
There was no curve, bend, or speed bump in
to keep you from arriving at your destination.
You are a steamroller grinding angry asphalt into smooth street,
making rough roads ready for revolution to ride to town.
You are the cement foundation upon which we build our freedom house.
You are the forest of fruit from which we may find
nourishment from the fangs of poverty.
You are the fortified fortress that protects us from the vandals of industry.
You are the ocean of hope in which we swim to safety.
A Detroit demolition man destroying the dragons of self-hate so
that self-determination can fertilize the community into a bouquet of spring flowers. Better than Superman,
you be Free-the-Land Man.
Able to leap skyscrapers of injustice in a single bound
and slam dunk the lies about us through the hoop of truth.
Able to slay slimy Judges with a lightning rod of litigation
Faster than a speeding bullet,
you erased the "t" from can't, making us a city of can.
And stronger than a locomotive,
you broke through the barriers
that have kept us herded like cattle,
unshackling our dreams from the dungeon of Dixiecrats
A liberation lawyer willing to lumberjack the liars
who attempt to lay waste to the lives of rainbow children.
More than a mouthpiece for a moment,
You welded words into stainless steel
to slash the noose of oppression from the wretched of the earth.
Even when bad times became storm clouds blocking the sun,
you were a lighthouse leading people to the land of liberty.
Whether it's planting proper seeds into your sons
so that they can sprout into life-giving trees,
or being an architect for your daughter
giving her the blueprint of properly engineered manhood,
you are a brick wall that protects all families
from the wolves, thieves, and pimps
that lurk like fungus in the pit of the night. One of the Chief Captains of the Justice League of Super Negroes—
more amazing than Spiderman, you be Anansi the word weaver
spinning webs to stop the wicked from stampeding our sanity,
more fantastic than the four,
our shining Dark Knight of Democracy
freeing the land from monstrous mercantile Magnetos.
When my mild mannered mayor removed his suit there was
MXG on his chest and instead of a Batsignal
when we needed him we simply shined NAPO in the sky
but the feet-washer that he was kept him Assembled among the People
our own Afro-American Robin Hood
who was more Daring than those Mississippi Devils
Now that your spirit finally became too big for your body,
you are a pulsar that will forever illuminate our path to justice.
Poet and fiction writer C. Liegh McInnis, the editor of Black Magnolias, read this poem at Mayor Lumumba's Celebration of Life on March 8.