When Elvis died in the seventies, too soon for some, my mother wore a t-shirt, “Elvis Lives” bedazzled in rainbow sparkle across her shapely chest. All I knew was that this angel was sent down for me unaware of her life outside of motherhood. I watched her in the day. screamed for her at night, longed for even the scent of her on my weekends away. It may have been Elvis then that had her heart or someone taller and darker, but I don’t think it was me coming into adolescence, learning how to be. Elvis did live through that faithful decade in the rooms of our house, in the shag carpets, and green velvets. Blue suede shoes danced the darkness from our lives. It was the seventies sound of Elvis dying, leaving us behind but keeping the soul of my family alive.
We are a nation of laws.
Those with the right skin color
right bank account
if you’re packing heat
or wearing a badge
if you fall in love with right gender
if you do it in the right position
THEN, WE are a nation of laws
if you are perceived by the above
to be an outlier
outside the bell curve
dare I say, deviant in thought
should you wear a hoodie
in the dark of night
should you walk alone when
you’re black and young
and if someone follows you
should you fight
that is another story
these laws are not for you.
We are a nation of laws,
your president admonishes.
Just make damn sure you can
pay your emergency room bill
if you’re on the wrong side of the gun
that the law allows him to carry
Lest we forget
there is no longer a need
for a Voting Rights Act.
no vote manipulation or
for if there was,
surely the Electoral College
will save us from our ignorance.
As long as we like it missionary style
and shop convenience
in the light of day, we’re all okay.
Give us your poor. Your ignorant. Your gay.
Your unarmed. Your hoodied. Don’t be afraid.
We’ll find a place for them all on the fringe.
We. Are. A nation of laws.
From the first moment you entered
There has been no silence
Your noise in my ears, ringing
Shake my head as I might
Always you leave the forest child
Crying, screaming, wailing, NO!
I feel the constant stamping of your feet
Multiplying, tortuous repetitive kick, over and over
in the same spot
Slowly, meticulously you butcher me day and night
Incarcerate and embezzle my power
A force you think you can command
Stop calling me Mother
Not your victim
Not your patient
Not your little girl
Not your little flower
No patch of garden for your seeds to sow
Not your poisonous weed to rip
Though you rape me thousands of times over
With your Oedipal scarring
You call caress
You do not know
Beast that I become
My warnings across the sky
Do not stop you
From coming; from coming
Through every barrier
You blast your obsessed incestuous prick
My totem protector rising
I reject you like the foal
Too large for the birth canal
A hoof kicked up to slash your nursing mouth
Whip my ancient mangled mane
Around in the wild winds
To conjure a warpath
Destruction beyond what your feeble mind has seen
When at last a peaceful settling comes
Not a speck of you or me remains
Nothing left to kiss
Not to hold in your calloused hands
Not to lie on top of me under the wishing star
Not to hold in your lips to drink
No lines in the sand or borders to cross
No flags to plant your claims on me
I belong to no one
We both cease
I am Spirit,
You are not of me
Not of my dust
How can I love you any longer
when all we do is fight
my children are dead
your children are dead
shot in their six-year-old heads
learning double digit subtraction
a sacrifice you accept
you willingly weep while you
make small caskets to fill
as long as no one takes your right
to make and fill large magazines too
for the kids of course
because without this second right
how will we protect them
from the bloodshed rising between us
in the name of something called freedom
a hideous demon
masquerading behind the face of a man
for Fakhra Younus
I dreamt that we were the stronger of the pride
all of us
a tidal wave of lionesses cresting with open jaws
at the top of the wave to descend upon him
as he stood over you
just in time
before the acid melted your face, your body
we rubbed your supple brow with ours
licked your tender dancer skin with healing
juices of our saliva and protected you from any evil
man could craft
he imagined himself an alchemist
with acumen to transform worthless human flesh
into guiltless pleasure then to sewage flowing
through him, the hollow insides of a gutter
not in this dream Fakhra
the only flying that you do
is across the plain in chase of prey
heat that you feel is only the afternoon sun
warming your back while you pounce a playful dance
in the wild amber
Poem response to Sunday Whirl wordle #49
For Trayvon Martin, 17, who was shot February 26, 2012 by a neighborhood watch captain when he was returning home after buying candy for his younger brother. Since the story broke, more information has slowly come out and there has been a nationwide outcry for further investigation. Still, as of March 21, 2012, the police have not arrested the man who shot Trayvon Martin.
Don’t know why the path of your story
curved to meet the hard line of his barrel
no news of your favorite
sports team or if there was a
wide smiled girlfriend devastated at home
Not a word of good grades
or a criminal record but I get the idea
you cared for a brother
younger than you.
A token for him not delivered that night
under neighborhood watch.
Hush hush, they say. This one is not ours.
Scared or threatened, bold or meek,
Let people remember
yours was a
a boy on the cusp of manhood
it was not anyone’s decision to make
Will the sound of a slight young man’s last breath
reverberate in the watchdog’s chest?
Always circling like a vulture
Waiting for the flesh of hate to finally die?
Or will he believe a truth he conceived
fluff it up each night
a soft place for dreaming soundly?
Hush hush, they say. We did not hear the screams.
National headlines have amnesia too.
Cannot remember today a shred of your wound, the violence
A bullet ripped apart your body, life, family
by supposed well-intentioned hands who claimed their
right to protect.
I will not let the world forget,
You lived. You loved.
it was your blood that night
Rainbow candy in your pocket
never passed warm hand to hand
brother to brother
now only from this life
Hush hush, they say.
But there will be no silence
Not for this man. Until your screams are heard
Wings of justice flapping wildly above him