after “A Poem About Police Violence” by June Jordan

backbreakin bloodlust is an amerikkkan past-time
except now the slave is convinced he owns the whip
overseers fucked around and got union benefits
house niggas swallowed the master’s tongue 
oppressors tailored industries out of plantation speak
now the racist sheriff is Black and police is family business
and it was five Black cops that beat that boy beyond recognition 
or man depending on if you believe Black boys are either 
always men or remain boys til death spins the block dizzy
sincere apologies to the poetry community
all my stanzas sound like re-reuns lately
it seems i’m fresh out of beautiful methods
to communicate i want my kin to live full lives
i comb through pages of synonyms for genocide
i flip my pockets inside out searchin for left over
references to Black folks i’ve never met and won’t forget
until the next cycle of summertime uprisings
where i’m tasked with a megaphone sermon to summon  
pretty words about ugly systems run by intransigent uniforms 
they say i’m angry and i say sheeeiiitt you not?!
they say i’m hopeless and i say yes in the president
i’m not pessimistic but i am tired of pretending
objective reality excludes physiological reactions
for example i feel my bones get hot each time 
i read about a new instance of state sanctioned murder
i deduce that my anatomy is expressing its honest belief 
that there should be a small suburban town on fire 
you see how the body actually keeps the score
is through retaliation and we are terribly far behind

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Darius Simpson is a writer, educator, performer, and skilled living room dancer from Akron, Ohio. His work has appeared in New Ohio Review, The Adroit Journal, Crab Creek Review, and others. Darius believes in the dissolution of empire and the total liberation of all Afrikans by any means available.