Lady Lustitia (It turns out)

My tribute to Aretha Franklin can be found here: http://ratsassreview.net/?page_id=2944

LADY LUSTITIA (IT TURNS OUT)

-for Aretha Franklin & Angela Davis

It turns out that I should read everything into music-

That piano intro into Think . . .
it’s just the footfalls of four youths
an afternoon before they were shot down
in the Algiers Motel in the hometown of

The Queen of Soul.

Those rising horns in Sweet Sweet Baby . . .
three hundred and fifty years of tidal Mississippi
rising to raise a gin fan and Huck’s raft
plus the flotsam rope they cut for some boys from Scottsboro

All thrown off a Tallahatchie Bridge to go down to the Gulf.

Let it all wash out among the hulls
of sunken ships and blown well heads spewing
the blackest crude onto those white sands
of a Riviera in Mississippi where they wouldn’t serve

The Queen of Soul.

The backbeat to The Weight . . .
well, shit . . .
It turns out that the weight itself was something
some Canadian of Mohawk blood
channelled like another black man felt the Wabash Cannonball
thumping through his pulmonary until he just had to become

A Pullman Porter.
A communist.
One among countless standing with patches
behind a hammer and a hoe.

All of them
and how many women
how many?
now soundtracking the debutante balls
on countless new plantations
from Oakland in Michigan
to Sunflower County
and the precincts of starvation wage
trash collectors in Shelby
that’s Memphis, baby

Rock steady.

The Queen was there,
is there,
must always be where mourners
and eye-of-the-needle transponders
move like Miss Angela herself
through the halls of blind Lady Lustitia;
how long she gon’ wait?

You listening?
The Queen ain’t done preaching.

-Jeremy Nathan Marks