What matter is it that you were a quiet,
compassionate man who showed
the glory and splendor
of J.S. Bach to school children?
That you were a choirmaster,
a tall gentle man who dwelled in
the lavish church of Baroque music?
The swirling darkness of hot rage
cares nothing for the damage it does.
What, in truth, can one really say
about such a waste?
Years of devoted intricate study,
a vigorous and polished mind;
a life full of meaning for so many
cut short by the muzzle of a gun,
for the profit of a wallet,
by persons you had never met.
This troubled world, David,
is poorer without you.
But as long as men live
who relish in the brilliance
and beauty of classical music,
you will live on forever in
the smile of a child caressed
by the natural warmth
of adagio cantabile.
I have no doubt you now
rest with your old friend Bach,
the master of all choirmasters,
and that he welcomed warmly
a kindred spirit with open arms.
The 'Hood with no Ears
"If man hasn't discovered something
that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."
Martin Luther King Jr.
January 26, 1994
What does a gangbanger do at 18?
If he is not dead nor incarcerated,
not turned cold and hard as granite:
an unfeeling street warrior for life
in the pointless wasteful wars
of the long suffering ghetto?
At one time, Tony, you were as crazy
and lost as any other gangster
running through the housing project
of these your Imperial Gardens.
A P.J. Crip and an O.G. Gangster:
loyal to the love of your friends,
deadly to the touch to your enemies,
armed robbery, prison, parole....
you could be anyone and everyone.
somewhere you changed:
God has given us the gift of life
to do with what we might,
and his eyes opened wide:
"You shall know the truth
and the truth shall set you free!"
My Brothers! Why kill each other?
To what end do we fight and die?
Man is blessed with the freedom
to choose to live a life for the good,
in complete control of oneself,
wherein lies all real power.
But his Watts would not,
and a voice in the wilderness
died in a hail of gunfire just
like so many others had before,
and will again in the future.
You can kill the man with the gun
but the thought only with the mind.
The man is dead.
The message lives on.
There is something pitiless
about this our Los Angeles,
the stench of fecund death
and the shriek of taut rage,
which renders men deaf
to the music of kindness
and the voice of prophets.