Savage Inequity

For AV.

Watch the faint haze of morning fog at daybreak
acquiesce to the self-same silence
of sewage dripping from the drain, such superfluous sound
as Mama Earth caterwauls from her grave
unheard. Let no curmudgeon juxtapose
a ripe red rose with the rosy cheeks
of a child in heat, or the metaphor of lovemaking
with fever. Let no mayor gentrify
the streets of East St. Louis, or D.C., or Raleigh
because history is no palindrome and the wealth they build tomorrow
will not serve the starving today. Let no man testify
how indubitably he must shut down the schools
to stop the drug sales in the schoolyard
or checking birth certificate at bathroom stalls
until he has breathed the perfume of perfunctory pollution
and placed leaded water upon his parched tongue
marches to the end of the bus line begging
while his pleas meet the only answer he has ever given
when the poor and the weak stumble at his knees.

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Digital Delinquency

“Lets watch some commercials,”
she said, “to show how overwhelming
social justice is.” So we followed
the next link in the sidebar,
searching “commercials featuring
black people.”
I wish we hadn’t hit enter
hadn’t hit that triangular play button
and sat back in horror
as it streamed forward
the most obscene cartoon I have ever seen
in Lazy Town, those men of color
caricatures like primates
was it the derogative that shaped the animation
or the comic that coined the word
and my hand covered my mouth
my muscles trembling, heart beating in time
how many children had watched this?

Change and Resistance

Should I pull back before I place the drop
of blood upon this silver plate
should I let the red swell tight to syrup
or turn it into ink? Pondering resistance
the aerodynamics of cardinals and bluejays
caught between sunbeams and storm clouds
is this whisper loud enough for you to listen
or just a child calling a dog god, or god Bob
because he doesn’t know the names of places
should I drop a letter in the mailbox
stir a movement calling out for change
as they push me to the side and drown me
do they wither in their loneliness or steep
like bitter tea leaves, do their hearts cry
for one more day of the routine that kills them
because it’s all they know of life?