The Poetry Cops

PAPO: You have to forget what you heard, even if you were out there when it happened.

COPS: But how to stay true to what you see?

PAPO: I wrote what I saw in the face of what I remember.

COPS: Well, who is the you?

PAPO: The you is you. Us, we, all of them, and the others. That’s you.

COPS: Let’s continue.

PAPO: That’s all. I’m just trying to build.

COPS: Let’s talk about Voice.

PAPO: Okay. Voice. On any Saturday night you could find yourself running against your voice. The voice that yells Five-O Teddy-Up is about to jump. That voice that suggests you don’t go down a certain block, that you stay away from that blond streak, that you go home early, that at any moment your screams can go dry.

COPS: What happens when Voice comes to stay?

PAPO: Like Baraka used to say, I can see something in the way of ourselves.

COPS: That sounds like Brother Lo.

PAPO: You don’t know patience until you stand on the corner when shit is slow. Brother Lo was on some planet rock shit. He made sure that we enlisted in the fight for freedom—not now, but right now.

From The Crazy Bunch  by Willie Perdomo. Copyright © 2019 by Willie Perdomo. Published by arrangement with Penguin Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.