an online showcase curated by Maya Kóvskaya



by R.B. Mertz



In Homewood you trip on the broken sidewalks
i know are there in the mostly white neighborhoods but
i notice them less like there is more fresh paint there
is more time for landscaping when you don't spend
two hours while the sun comes up on Mother's Day
to stay with Mr. Jeff's body so that he's not alone
with all these white cops and white detectives
and white photographers of crime scenes separated
from us by tape and amidst the grief the tangible sense
when the they see me holding my girlfriend's shaking body
of “who is that white girl? why here?”

And the cops shrink away in their smirks when I meet
their eyes and it's unclear how much of their laughing
is about the black man laying dead in the street
and how much of their lingering stare is at us emotional
dykes holding each other with no shame in public
like we're in a gay bar or a museum or a Whole Foods
someplace definitely friendly to us but the tape separates
clearly who has slept on this street and who is just here
to figure out what went wrong

and women in the constellation of neighbors say
“i hate those drugs” or “i'm so sick of those fucking drugs”
or “i'm so glad my mom's clean now” and women bend
weeping and screaming their torso's over the yellow tape
till a cop's growl prevents them from getting closer
and between our bodies the difference in color creates lines
like ink on white paper like what depends on red wheelbarrow
and white chickens and the difference between two words
or worlds creates meaning or like the injustiice system made
up of mostly white people white scientists who invented crack

and the not just white people but white people and other
colors of people who bow down to whiteness and say yes
we will crack the whip or drive the crack or sell the crack
in the places where only black people live or we will
continue to traumatize people of this color which comes
in many shades because we will continue to rape the women
who are not white and abandon them and sell their children
or refuse to buy their children and we will steal what we like
of theirs and water down the color with a water board
or a board or chains or laws or crack

and Jeff was so tired he wanted to go home, he had
just said on Miss Stephanie's porch he was just
outside our house on Friday smiling and saying hello
and he was just kissing his lovers and laughing but
from your bedroom we couldn't hear the laughter we
heard the screaming and the detective says the cops
have to laugh to keep from crying but maybe they
should be crying

and maybe they should just take the drugs and not the people
who love them but in America obviously taking property is not
as easy as taking people like we'd rather go to war than learn
to ride bicycles like it's easier to push Jeff's humanity down into
your stomach and tell a joke or show a text to the other cop
than it is to let your own humanity pull up through you like vomit
does or like love does up through your guts into your mouth
overflowing into tears but

what if the all white police arrived on the scene and fell
to their knees weeping and tearing at their clothes
and tearing at their hair what if the policeman picked up Jeff's
body and held it like a pieta held it like a mother would
and sobbed and broke what if the policemen let all the mothers
come up and what if they put Jeff's body into his mother's arms
what if we could all run up and touch him what else would break
what else's soul would take wing and rise up into everything
like Jeff's did yesterday like Miss Teresa's screaming “He's
warm! He's still warm!” 






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