Mennonite Poetry Home | Robert Martens




king's last motel
room, bag lunch,
rumpled bed,
plainest of place, and
red hot america
waiting on the
balcony, a point
on a compass, here,

across the street,
ray's killing room,
basin, smudged
window, vacant
nation, and scope sighted
on a fluorescent
ghost, compass point
yearning for here,

and a bullet
poised forever
between, on the
filament of spirit,
in a patient
memphis sky.

Although alternative conspiracy versions abound, it is generally accepted that, from his hotel window, James Earl Ray shot and killed Martin Luther King on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel across the street in Memphis, April 1968. Both rooms have been preserved for viewing as part of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.

© Robert Martens




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