Poets

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Raymond Antrobus

Raymond Antrobus is the author of three books, including The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins, 2018) and To Sweeten Bitter (Out-Spoken Press, 2017). He divides his time between London, England, and Kingston, Jamaica.

By This Poet

1

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?