Friday, July 24, 2015

And Still the Bullet Comes

Written in protest and solidarity for Sandra Bland. Also, slight language warning. (I am not one for swearing, myself, but when met with an intense outrage, the words can find their place.)

* * *

And Still the Bullet Comes

As if there is a gesture we have yet to bend ourselves into.
Our arms high, our hands empty, our mouths
little more than a question mark shoved headlong off a breath.

And still the bullet comes.
Still, the daylight stranglehold.
Still, the gun-chewed back of a man
too acquainted with the law in coffined black bodies
to not smell the Tallahatchie River in acquiescence.

Still, the poolside hammerlock,
the holster pulled hollow to cull a neighborhood of its color.

As if there is a gesture we have yet to bend ourselves into.
Our arms high, our hands empty, our mouths
racing to pronounce the subservience we learned as children.

And still, Sandra Bland,
fed to a Texas holding cell for a cigarette and a question,
draped in the homicidal cure-all of self-harm when reported
a like-faced antithesis hung from a plastic bag.
Still, the magnetism between black necks and nooses—

relocated from Mississippian cedar to the stations
that relieve lynch mobs of the need for their timeworn hoods.

As if there is a gesture we have yet to bend ourselves into.

If there is a safety in surrender, a certain height of arm at which
DON'T KILL ME
can be read in limbs lifted on the threat of a trigger/nightstick/fist...
someone, lower the fucking bar.
A South Carolinian genocidist surrenders his church-bloodied hands
to lackadaisical police and Burger King,
while black wrists are snapped from their display
to make it easier to riddle guilty skin with conviction,

while black bodies are incriminated
by the bones that refuse to move once broken,
by the skin that can never mean DON'T KILL ME, even though
our arms are high. Even though
                             our hands are empty. Even though
                                                               our mouths

Monday, July 6, 2015

Slow Burn


Slow Burn

The fire
chewing through pew
and cross.
                                              We are okay with this.
                                              We are okay with this.
The smoke, thick
and dark, tongues lolling
from scorched-sill lips.
                                              We are okay with this.
                                              We are okay with this.
The night sky,
forced again to swallow
blossoms thought left
in Birmingham's salted
earth, this,
such a different south.
                                              We are okay with this.
The way a church, a
church, and a church
resume some forestalled
dance, bright and star-like
for the luminaries liable to
wink from the tops
of their flagpoles.
                                              We are okay with this.
As if the trees
didn't moan at the whiff
of timber and brimstone,
didn't wriggle the limbs
ringed with rope burn,
having seen this all before,
but...
                                              We are okay with this.
                                              We are okay with this.

                                              We are okay with this.