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Jive Poetic

Jive Poetic received his BA in Media Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his MFA from Pratt Institute. A writer, organizer, and educator, his work has been showcased on TVONE’s Lexus Verses and Flow, PBS News Hour, and BET. He is the recipient of the John Morning Award for Art and Service, the founder of Insurgent Poets Society, Carnival Slam: Cultural Exchange, and the co-founder of the Brooklyn Poetry Slam. Jive is the Nuyorican Poets Café Friday Night Slam curator, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

By This Poet

1

Assume the Position

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
between cars.

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
being said.