Go live with yourself after what you didn’t do.
Go and be left behind. Pre-package
your defense, tell yourself
you were doing
your oath, guarding the futility of
your corrupted good,
discerning the currency of some.
As if them over all else.
Above God and Spirit.
You over me, you think.
This is no shelter in justice not sheltering with
enclosure of soft iron a sheltering of injustices
into an inferno flooding of your crimes committed
and sheltered by most culprit of them all.
These nesting days come
outward springs of truth,
dismantle the old structures,
their impulse for colony—I am done
with it, the likes of you.
To perpetrate lack of closure, smolders of unrest.
To perpetrate long days alone, centuries gone deprived.
To be complicit in adding to the
perpetration of power on a neck,
there and shamed,
court of ancestors to disgrace
you, seeing and to have done nothing.
Think you can be like them.
Work like them.
Talk like them.
Never truly to be accepted,
always a pawn.
Copyright © 2020 by Mai Der Vang. Originally published with the Shelter in Poems initiative on poets.org.
A cop almost fell off
amid the colorful floral skeletal
commemorations of life,
entertaining the children
waiting for the procession to come down
He swerved his vehicle,
almost tipped over.
evil horse energy
in the pits of their eyes, dark stele in the alcoves
of their hearts,
in a vault
oversaturating the memorial
If he had fallen
would the children have gotten up?
Who would have been the first
the perverts of death.
Copyright © 2020 by Brandon Shimoda. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 3, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.
The train came with a police officer
on his gun. He shifts his weight
against the door. A flash back loads
the first time a service weapon was pulled in my face;
the second time it made me lay on the ground;
the third time it put my hands in the air; the fourth time
it pushed me against a wall; the fifth time
it told me it was just doing its job; the sixth time
it kicked my feet apart; the seventh time
it followed me home; the eighth time it grabbed my shirt collar.
Read the signs: it’s illegal to move
Read the signs; my body knows
how Klan-rally a cop’s gun feels at eye level.
The ninth time the barrel cocked its head;
the tenth time, it told me it missed me
the last time; it said, burning black bodies is a tradition
it was raised on; the eleventh time the safety and trigger argued
through a range of black fiction. I could’ve been
any made-up one of us: Ricky or Wee-Bey
Mad Max or Tray; we all look the same under the right racism
anyway; the twelfth time it dared me to swing; the thirteenth time
I thought about it; the fourteenth time, I almost did it;
the fifteenth time, there were no cellphones; the sixteenth time
just covered badges; the seventeenth time
it searched me for the broken laws it thought I was;
the eighteenth time I assumed the position without anything
Copyright © 2020 by Jive Poetic. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 20, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.