Meditations on the Cross

by Rufus, a slave
(featured in Mumia Abu-Jamal's "Death Blossoms")

Lawd, Lawd, I look at you and see
a man on a cross who don't look like me.
I wonder if you can truly be
God of all eternity -
maker of earth, the wind, the sea,
maker, even, of lil' old black me?

Lawd, Lawd, I look at the cross and pray
Can you hear the words I say?
Can you see the things I do?
Things done by folks
who look like you?
Can you snap these chains offa my feet?
Can you make it so's I don't get beat?
Can you bring my wife,
son, daughter back to me?
Can you bring an end to slavery?
Lawd, O Lawd - can you truly make us free?

Come to think of it, why am I asking you?
What I mean to say is -
what can you do?
Your hands is nailed to this here cross -
How could you ever be the Big Boss?

Also nailed is your two feets -
you cain't even walk the streets!
And on your head, that crown
of thorns,
Will it stop new ideas
from being born?

Lawd, I don't mean to sound too smart,
it's just that these things be in my heart;
The last time I thought of you,
was when they lynched my daddy, Lou -
They tied his hands and bound his feet,
lashed him, slashed him like a piece of meat,
cut him, buried him, and just before they let him die,
They hung him from a tree, swingin' high.
How could your people do this, Lawd?
How could you give them the Power of the sword?
How could you let 'em hang Daddy on a tree,
when that's the very same thing they did to thee?
How could you let 'em bring us here as slaves
over roiling miles of ocean waves?
How could you do this, Jesus,
Weren't you king of the jews -
Weren't they themselves broken and beaten,
Battered and abused?

Lawd, O Lawd, I ain't trying to be
no big man,
I'm just tryin' to understand.
And if you don't wanna speak to me,
can't you at least let me see?
Ol' preacher say you died for the poor;
Does that mean we won't be poor no more?
I'm not try'na run things in heaven above,
I just wan' freedom, my family, Love.
They say it's compassion
your life demonstrated,
but I wonder, if that's so,
why am I so hated?

Well, Lawd, I guess I gotta go,
It's just that I'd like to be more in the know.
Just think of this as my personal letter,
Asking how things could be made better -
Finally, Lawd, lemme say I Love You,
'cause you went through the same hell
as we still do.

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