All Souls Procession

A cop almost fell off 
his motorcycle. 

He was 
amid the colorful   floral skeletal 
commemorations of life, 
entertaining the children 
waiting for the procession to come down 
Bonita

He swerved his vehicle, 
almost tipped over. 

everywhere   clowns, 
evil horse energy 
in the pits of their eyes,   dark stele in the alcoves 
of their hearts,

children,   souls 
in a vault

oversaturating the memorial
antisepsis.

If he had fallen
would the children have gotten up? 

Who would have been the first 
to help?

the police 
the perverts of death.

More by Brandon Shimoda

The Desert

Why don’t more animals pass through here? Dale asked
There were none
But sounds
shifting in thick oil
behind the cement wall
that kept precisely those animals out

the moon was rising
a bruise was rakish on the moon’s right brain
A coyote to the southwest on the roof of the hotel
birds, nightbirds   a dog

Why didn’t more animals pass through
The strangulation of the self
to alert the family   by way of torched skin
and a thin buoy of breathing
to one’s individuality
as a service
to extinction   personal in-fruition

Is Jupiter red? One star was the question
meeting itself in the atom-sphere

Animals were parading eating the mustards
and ants   fallen fruits

a grapefruit? I asked.
a pear, Dale said.

We were in the sly suburbs, sitting by a swimming pool
The lack of animals was the consequence
of enforcement   the prospectus of looking
at oneself   and seeing an end the end
when the ark has been sent off
depleted in the mirage of heat
curling the horizon
to the contemplation of the human
on the shore

the contemplation is impatient
Why stammer   animals are on the roof
in the trees   the wall that starts at the ground
fences, applications,
hedgerows, motion lights
gates, kitchen windows,

animals are abundant
Why don’t more humans pass through here?

Related Poems

For Rashan Charles

And after the black boy is
strangled by police, after

the protests where the man,
his Rottweiler on an iron leash yells,

let's go mash up dis city;
and another crowd bulks,

the parents of the murdered
beg us not to become

the monsters some think
we already are—even when

the barista shakes her head
at the banners, says actually,

police be killing whites too.
Look how scary it is

to be here and know
if we die someone

will make a sound
like her before earth

is tipped over us.
Who hasn’t had enough?

Enough burning
bins, pushing

shopping trolleys
into static and sirens?

Who isn’t chanting
enough, enough,

enough, throwing spells,
the rebellious

holding what they can
in front of a supermarket

or police stations
or voting booths—I am

kind to the man
sitting next to me

in C.L.R James Library, even if
his breathing disturbs me.

Can we disagree graciously
I am tired of people

not knowing the volume
of their power. Who doesn’t

deserve
some silence at night?

the bullet was a girl

the bullet is his whole life.
his mother named him & the bullet

was on its way. in another life
the bullet was a girl & his skin

was a boy with a sad laugh.
they say he asked for it— 

must I define they? they are not
monsters, or hooded or hands black

with cross smoke.
they teachers, they pay tithes

they like rap, they police—good folks
gather around a boy’s body

to take a picture, share a prayer.
oh da horror, oh what a shame

why’d he do that to himself?
they really should stop
getting themselves killed

Untitled [Executions have always been public spectacles]

Executions have always been public spectacles. It is New Year’s 2009 in Austin and we are listening to Jaguares on the speakers. Alexa doesn’t exist yet so we cannot ask her any questions. It is nearly 3 AM, and we run out of champagne. At Fruitvale Station, a man on his way home on a train falls onto the platform, hands cuffed. Witnesses capture the assassination with a grainy video on a cell phone. I am too drunk, too in love, to react when I hear the news. I do not have Twitter to search for the truth. Rancière said looking is not the same as knowing. I watch protests on the television while I sit motionless in the apartment, long after she left me. Are we what he calls the emancipated spectator, in which spectatorship is “not passivity that’s turned into activity” but, instead, “our normal situation”? Police see their god in their batons, map stains and welts on the continents of bodies. To beat a body attempts to own it. And when the body cannot be owned, it must be extinguished.