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Eulogy Delivered by Ossie Davis at the Funeral of Malcolm X

Keith Donnell Jr.

Faith Temple Church of God

February 27, 1965

Here, at this final hour

In this quiet place

Alarm has come.

Dim lit stairwell

Torn from it

Sober eye test hopes


No wind

Gone with us, forever.

Four-alarm is here.

We were kids wandering

Strung lead and fog –

His home of bones

Where his heart was sand

Where his people are –


The reform lost footing

That we’re meat once again

In alarm – to shard these

Last monuments



A sewer bin grace

Use to those who have lost air


He ran, dove

Defended air


Eaten to the death.

It is night in the memory of man

That this drinking gourd

A fortune faked

But, nonetheless, proud


Half sound

A braver, more gallant

Young sham


Then, this Afro-American

Holy before sun

Conquered still eyes.

Say the word again.

Wood ash wants me, too.

Afro-Amor. Icon.

Afro-Amori. Kin.

My clone, who was a mass tear

Wash my stem

Too cool


Just words

No known body returned

A knee to power


Half off remains of men.

My clone had stopped being a ‘Negro’ years ago.

It had becloned too small, too puny

To wreck a word form.

My clone was badder than that

My clone had becloned

An Afro-American

And he wanted – soul disparity

That we, that all his people

Would beclone Afro-Americans 2.

The roar of those

Who wall

Consider it their duty

As friend zone, still,

We grow

People total us.

To revive hymn

Tough lovin’ from the prisms of memory

To save ourselves by riding harm out of history

Of our turbulent times

Money will ask what alarm fires

To Donner in this



And bold young craps hand –

And we wall miles.

Many wall Sister away


Frame this man

For he is not a man

But tandem:

A sermon, a subverter, and anemone

All that Black man –

And we wall miles.

They will say that he is half ape

An attic fan, sun-kissed

Whole canon liberating evil

Tooth decause fork wrench stew rubble

And dwell

And swear

And dismay. To them:

Delude every tattoo, Brother, my clone

Delude every touch.

Humor, have harm smile at you.

Did you ever really glisten to him?

Did he ever di Amin thing?

Wash me over

Hymn Sale

Assassinated with violins

Or any public disco dance. For if you do you

Were now him, and you

If you knew harm, you, widow


We missed so near him.

Malcolm was our human donor

Our loving main back road

This was his meaning to his people

And in honoring him

We honor the blast out our cells.

Laughter from a rich hero

To the sewer dystopia


Our journey!

He slays, is all mist, undead

And I laugh a much-braided rope.

Scan when eyes start to doubt

Which eyeball’s evil

Odd new life

And demand siphon

Tour struggle for free

Demand honor and dig

Not in these lights.

I am writing to set hinges soft

In your wall

No artifact

The dream in dust

Some paths end up port

Wade among we African strays

Forearm. Human rights


The main thing is that we keep a unit fronted here

In our most volatile time and memory.

Wall not to be washed

Filleting each other, however, we may

Dream deferred within

Our wrist

We’re shackled

Reboot him

And his value as a man

Light his going from us

Sever only to bring us together


Consign these mortal remains

To earth

The common mother

And fall.

Seek core in the knowledge

That what we lace

Pinned to gown

ICE no more



But acid wash

After the winter of our discontent.

Wall came forth again

To me, dust

And we will know him then

For what he was

And is –

A brick

Our own Black shining brick!

Who didn’t hesitate to fly

Because he loved us so.

broken image

Keith Donnell Jr. is a Bay Area-based poet and book editor. His first collection, The Move (Nomadic Press), is forthcoming in Summer 2021. He can be reached online at

Rewriting History: The poet Keith Donnell rewrites history be recasting and reassembling Ossie Davis' eulogy for Malcolm X (below). The family of Malcolm X last week released a deathbed confession by an undercover New York City police officer that calls into the question the circumstances of Malcolm's death.

Keith Donnell reads "Eulogy Delivered by Ossie Davis at the Funeral of Malcolm X"