A Prayer of a Sinner 1921
My holy and righteous Father forgive me for I have sinned.
I ask you to forgive me. I have betrayed my brother to the white man.
I lied, I lied, I lied, I lied
The niggers are coming to free Diamond Dick is what I told them, but Diamond Dick had already been freed and headed to Kansas City.
The niggers have guns and the old soldiers have plenty of anger in them, that's what I said. I lied
I gave them names of the big shot niggers because they can afford to get out of jail. I lied.
They gave me money to talk and then to leave town. I didn't know they were going to kill everyone and destroy everything. I'm runnin and I'm scared . . . I lied.
They know where I lived and I thought they would save my brother and his family from their cruelty but no, no they killed them all and the children too. All of them are dead . . . because of me.
I want to die but I'm scarred and I'm runnin and praying at the same time.
Forgive me Lord, Forgive me Lord
Forgive me Lord, Forgive me Lord.
I am looking in the satchel and they only gave me $30 dollars, they said it would be a hundred dollars and its only $30 dollars.
They lied Lord, they lied.
People ask, who caused the war, the fight, the divorce, the crime? The Blue Side, The Right, The Left, The Bully? It is not that easy for violent acts to start in the mind, body, spirit and even the womb. The need to destroy creeps into the ego and self and is not manifested for years until something or someone gives it the ultimate power to act. These poems were part of the Unvarnished Truth exhibit at Liggett Studios in May and June 2021. They seek to enter the minds, self, motive of people in 1921 Tulsa, who played some role large or small in the massacre.
The Fiery Furnace
Africans and their descendants have walked, ran, died, lived, worked, played, birthed children, buried family, created miracles, cured the sick, cursed and prayed in the Fiery Furnace of America.
The City of Tulsa is a testimony that though ones’ skin is fried, hair is singed, mind is lost, body scarred and disfigured the soul still survives because there is a Fourth Man.
Victims of violence, planned and random acts of evil organized by church leaders, local government officials and trumped up laws still hang like rotten fruits on the memories of the survivors and still flows in the air directing the winds of the odors of death originating in the Fiery Furnace.
From the place where the gods created Eden, a Fourth Man appeared again along Greenwood, Archer and Pine as a spirit of light and life in the Fiery Furnace in 1921.
A Fourth man to save some of the residents as they gave up the ghost to the heavens and ran for their mortal lives across county and state lines.
The Fiery Furnace did not destroy the genius
The Fiery Furnace did not destroy the spirit
The Fiery furnace did not destroy the mind
The Fiery Furnace did not destroy the atoms
The Fiery Furnace did not destroy all
We are not afraid for we hold to the hand of the Fourth Man
We boldly enter the arms of the flames
We know the hands of the oppressors will not succeed
We survived through our ancestors this Fiery Furnace by the Grace of the hands of the Fourth Man.
Barbara L. Eikner is a poet, author, art activist, journalist, community servant and owner of Trabar Communications LLC. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is the mother of Ptah, Isis, Neteru, Drew, and Pax.
Copyright © by Barbara Eikner. All rights reserved. No part of these poems may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, or digital, including photocopying, recording, any information storage and retrieval system or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Photo of Barbara Eikner by Don Thompson Images.