Archive for:January, 2017

Kalief Browder (poem) – C.Way

January 24th, 2017

 
 
 

KALIEF BROWDER



Unscrew bolts anchoring A/C to wall
           
          I stand behind
          Watching you work
          Words rise up & crowd my throat
	        like a clump of blind baby piglets 
	        smelling the teat
          All swallowed back down


Work air conditioner, deliver it
    to bed of pillows prepared on floor

          1,000 days

          I picture you in your box
                    unfed, filthy, dreaming not of bread
                      but of end-pieces of bread
          your hand through the slot, waving your completed worksheet
                    asking for someone to grade it
                    "Miss! I got work for you!"

Squat down, peer through new hole made
    Noonday sunlight slides in
    Watch a green bottle fly
          swoop in, swirl, leave

          Summer nights with the heat vents baking
                    your 12 x 7 oven
                   Kevin next door with the disintegrating laugh
                              slamming his forehead into the wall

          Thirty times told: No trial, Soon, Soon
          Half of your mother's words over the phone
                    blotted out by sobs 
          And your hand still holding the slot, 
                    waving, waving, always waving 

Stick arm out, checking clearance
    Feeling drips from A/C above

          Over and over, you work on bedsheet nooses
                    using your teeth to make strips
          getting a little better each time
                    And when they cut you down they beat you
                              because a hang-up means more paperwork
          And when they don't cut you down
                    they say "Jump, Go ahead and jump" 


Gather yellow braided sheet cord
     from cache in the closet

          You're out
          but no 3.5 GPA or donated MacBook Air or Haldol
          can stop you from waking
                    at 4 AM, sweating through your clothes 
          punching holes in your wall
          trashing your TV because it's watching you

                    Because your hand never got out
                              of that slot 
                    Waving, waving, always waving

Take sheet-cord, start to gauge length

          Biking home from school last summer
          Beats in your ear, crisp loving night
          Sweet hour when the black wave 
                    was ebbed
          When the white swarm 
                    was quiet
                    a hive of cold bees 
	
Wind it, tie cinch and pull, blood starts to swell cheeks

          Kalief
          I am hungry, hungry, always hungry
          I don't know what to do with this hunger
          But talk to you
          And say that it is not justice I starve after
          My guts burn for us all 
          To stop choosing everything 
          Over love

          I am behind you
          The words become unstuck

          I am so proud of you 
                    for not shaking the slimed, charred, cold hand
          And for sharing what happened
          You did not get to learn what you should have 
          But I have learned 
                    integrity and courage from you 
          You fought 
          You fought
          You are good


Crabwalk to wall and opening
    vault, launch feet first
    get stuck, scrape back, shimmy through

          drop

    hear gasp like it's someone else

           Other sounds now

  Plane way overhead rumbling through sky

Sneaker heels whacking brick

Rosa's pink-dyed poodle
          barking at nothing in hallway

That new kid
    Playing video games next door
    Throwing controller against the wall again, again
    Screaming


                                          Chris Way, Nov 2016
[posted by: C Way at 11:03 AM]

[file under: Writing]
Comments