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Beckon Nov 2017
The black names drip from our obituaries, sticky and thin.
You would think they would burn into our minds,
the brand of injustice against bound skin—
But a headstone is lost in unending lines.

It is horrifying.


How do we allow one man to **** another in cold blood?
Life spilled pours out in floods
Our men in blue drenched red
With the staggering numbers dead
And we sit back with “not all cops are the same”

Not every officer’s a killer but do you remember the names
Treyvon and Michael and Eric and Dontre and John and Ezell and Dante and Tanisha and Akai and poor little Tamir, who was still a kid,

Tell me what he did?

There is systematic opression and agression against a group skin defined
Where ****** is fine, it happens all the time, killers let off the line
Because of an oath that should bind
The oath they forget, the promise to protect, held up for all citizens except
The ones they choose to neglect

The badge not a shield but a riot ram
Against those that take a stand
And raise defiant hands
For the names lost in the clatter,

Black Lives Matter.
I have lost my mind in the violence. Or rather maybe it has stolen it from me. In any case there is an attempt at semblance, this need to make sense of the senseless. So many names are drip drowned in blood and how do centuries float?
Beckon Nov 2017
Those blind metaphors are repeated—

Ended and repeated and thrown in to the abyss
An ovation of an encore of a long known remix;
The rant of a child so long out of breath
Bleated from the mouths of those bubbling with death.

The skin crawls over like a well worn pen
Reverberating echoes thrown back and again;
The metaphor reflected in the mutilated mache
Deaf voices scream all there is to say—

Metaphors repeated and repeated.
I often find myself abhorring my own writing, even as I type each letter. Sometimes I am unable to escape the feeling that everything has been said and why do I bother throwing my muck in. Yet here I am tossing it on the pile. Gods save me I am nothing but a hypocrite.
  Nov 2017 Beckon
on tuesday,
dylann roof was sentenced to his death.
on tuesday we tried
to make one body feel like nine.
to make one body feel like justice.
on tuesday we said
there has got to be some price to pay
for entering the house of god
with a sinful tongue
and a handgun.

six days later,
we remembered the rev. dr. martin luther king, jr.
we looked at the world,
called it a place with potential for change,
called it that because there has to be some softer way
to look at bloodshed,
for sanity’s sake.
if not then
all that remains is a solitary image of dr. king rolling in his grave because he knows,
knows that breathless black bodies
are a constant,
are transcenders of time,
whether sunken in rivers,
hung from taut ropes,
or bathing in blood on historic church floors,
singing, singing, screaming, shrill
for some messiah bringing mercy, mercy, mercy.

felicia sanders wants mercy:
prays for it, wills it down from up above,
unfolded from the hands of god
so that it might fall upon the head and in the eyes
and within the very being
of the man who killed her son.

it takes a certain grace —
one so foreign to me i can hardly write of it —
to see god in such men who deliberately defy Him,
to ask that heaven’s gates
be so indiscriminate and overt.
i would want him to burn for this.
but it is not my say,
not my life,
not my long, resounding, unflinching “hallelujah!”
not my certain type of grace.

breathless black bodies
are a constant,
are transcenders of time, a recurring motif.
but so too, then, is the black body full
of breath,
that inhales and exhales faith
without ceasing.

such is the black body
that sees a little bit of god in dylann roof,
that prays that he prays for forgiveness,
that thinks there to be but one kingdom,
and he, too,
a worthy subject.

the solitary image of dr. king rolling in his grave
is not a surprise.
the black body has always known
so well
how to die.

but felicia sanders hopes her son’s killer finds mercy.
perhaps the one thing the black body has always known better
is how to love.

written 1.16.17 in honor of MLK day, and of the charleston church shooting victims. #blacklivesmatter, today, tomorrow, and always
Beckon Aug 2017
I see your bruised lips
And hips and chin, cuts and dents, welts and scrapes
And all the marks that they have made,
Scars too thick to fade.

The skin pulled too tight because white is might and to be you isn't right

Your stricken cheeks empty at the seams, reports over riots that drown your screams, violence on every screen

Until It is impossible for you to be

Anything but bruised.

And used and abused.

Bitten off and chewed,
The chance to breathe, removed

By this oppressive society that holds me up on your brand burned corpse
Destroys choice with brute force
All thoughts with a course

on how to be
The stereotypes on tv

And in our melodies and our publicities and in our houses and our Sunday masses and in our preschools and all our ******* syllables

They scream profanities and erase liberties
Condemn charity and revoke sanity

All that's left is our ethnicity
Burning hatred for our families,

It is impossible for you to be.

Good God, I am sorry.
I just don’t know anymore
Beckon Apr 2017
When did we go so wrong, my dear,
Or rather when did you?
Was it something I said or misunderstood,
Was it something I didn't do?

You are too wild now and maybe you always were
But you're so wild now and that's something you don't deserve.

Can't you think anymore, is it all just too much?
Where's your subtlety, dear, you've lost your simple touch.

Perhaps it's your feelings now, they burst forever free
But you're too prosaic now, your wildness' not for me.

I miss you, but only you, and not your savage thoughts
I think we were always wrong, dear
But I can't help feeling lost.

How did you go so wrong, dear stranger, or rather when did we?
If you've always been so wild, foreigner,
Then blame must fall to me.
how can I still love you like this?
Can I love the desperate, pitiful retweets?
Can I love the horribly broken exploits you regale me with?
Can I love the tattoo you gave yourself out of spite?
why do I still love you like this when I know that you do not?
  Apr 2017 Beckon
i will never know the black mother’s ache,
but i imagine that if the phrase “adding insult to injury” had a feeling,
that would be it.

i will never know the black mother’s ache,
but i imagine that it sounds like “hands up, don’t shoot,” like “i can’t breathe,”
like blood hitting a pavement that seems as though it was built
to catch those droplets.

i will never know the black mother’s ache,
but i imagine that it tastes like skittles and arizona tea,
four years old but still carrying the fresh sting of a wound just opened.
i imagine that it tastes 
like history repeating itself,
like seeing your son or daughter recycled each week
on every news report, on every tv station.
each time it is a different body, 
but it is always the same hand pulling the trigger,
the same black blood being spilled,
the same cries left unheard;
we shout “black lives matter”
and yet, still,
they cut them too short.

i will never know the black mother’s ache,
but i imagine that it looks like a web of lies too thick to cut through — 
every strand another weapon that he did or did not have,
another order that he did or did not follow,
another sin that he did or did not commit;
the only black they care about
is the color of the ink they use
to draw your angel-headed boy
a set of horns.
i imagine that it looks like evidence hidden,
like sparknotes-type skim-throughs labeled “thorough investigations,”
like another unindicted officer walking freely atop the cries of those 
who charged into a battle they knew they would, but hoped they would not, lose.
a battle they have fought too many times before.
i imagine that it looks
like an empty chair at the dinner table,
like cold-blooded ****** disguised as justice
with the help of a blue hat and a badge.

i will never know the black mother’s ache,
but if you listen closely enough,
you can hear it
in every cautious goodbye she says to her children whenever they leave the house,
or in the silence that those goodbyes used to fill.

can you hear it?
you will have to push past the shouts
of the big bold letters that they want you to believe.

somewhere in there,
a black mother’s heart is crying.
it is a gentle, hushed cry 
that the world does not want to hear.

but the tears are still just as wet.

written 7.6.16 in honor of alton sterling, philando castile, and all the other black men and women who have lost their lives to similar injustice. this is no longer acceptable. we can not allow the people who are paid to protect us to continue getting away with ******. something needs to change.
  Apr 2017 Beckon
my psychiatrist tells me i have holes in me.
she says it as though it is something
i should already know.
and when she says it,
the shift inside me is something i wish i could compare
to the grinding of tectonic plates,
if only i were strong enough to bring about an earthquake.

but since i am a stranger even to aftershocks,
i keep quiet.
my earthquake is stillborn,
expressed instead as a nod,
as a chewing of the lip,
as a silent, compliant “mhm.”
and the urge that nestles itself at the pit of my stomach
is not an urge to disagree;
it is an urge to forget.

because my psychiatrist tells me i have holes in me.
she says it as though it is something i should already know,
and she says it in a way that is not meant to make me feel incomplete,
but it is a way that still does,
and if i can forget this,
even for a moment,
i can forget that i am not okay.

i do not like not being okay;
i do not like having problems,
and my psychiatrist,
she tells me i have holes in me and she says it
as though it is a problem.

and so begins a slow disintegration:
i become but a bearer of problems,
a garden growing only weeds —
something in need of fixing.
i see myself a war-torn landscape,
dry and cracked and lacking life.
i see myself the kind of ground you step on and say,
“remember when things used to grow here?
remember when it used to be green?”

i am still trying to be green,
always trying to be green,
but my psychiatrist tells me
i have holes in me,
and suddenly green becomes a color i will never know how to paint.

outside my psychiatrist’s office,
on the wall of the waiting room,
there is a painting of flowers —
irises and a geranium —
and the leaves, i know, are supposed to be green,
but the paint is old and faded
and they don’t look it.

and for a moment,
i think
that maybe,
whether iris
or geranium
or boy riddled with holes,
maybe it is possible to bloom
even if you are not green.

sorry for my absence. here's a poem i wrote periodically over the last month or so, from 7/18 to 8/30. hope you enjoy. **
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