Prison Radio
Mondo We Langa

Michael Brown?

I had never heard of him

had never heard anything he’d done

before the news of his death came

whoever he might have become

whatever he might have achieved

had he lived longer

not been riddled lifeless by

bullets from Darren Wilson’s gun

and crumpled on the pavement of a ferguson street

for more than four hours in

the heat of that august day

and before

i’d never heard of Trayvon Martin

had known nothing of who he was

until I learned of his demise

and cause of death

a bullet to the chest

George Zimmerman, the shooter

a badge-less, pretend police

with a pistol

and fear of the darkness

Trayvon’s darkness

and after a while

the pictures, the names,

the circumstances

run together

like so much colored laundry in the wash

that bleeds on whites

was it Eric Garner or Tamir Rice

who was twelve but seen as twenty

Hulk Hogan or The Hulk

with demonic eyes it was said

who shrank the cop in ferguson

into a five-year-old who

had to shoot

just had to shoot

and John Crawford the third

in a walmart store aisle

and air rifle in his hands he’d pick up

from the shelf

and held in the open

in an open-carry state

was it John or someone else

killed supposedly by mistake

in a dark stairwell

I know Akai Gurley fell

I hadn’t heard of him before

nor of Amadou Diallo or Sean Bell

prior to their killings

which of these two took slugs in the greater number

I don’t recall

my memory is too encumbered

with the names

of so many more before and since

the frequent news reports of

non-arrests, non-indictments,

non-true bills

and duplicitous presentations by “experts in the field”

the consultants put out front

to explain away

that which is so often plain as day

to coax and convince us that we’re the ones

who can’t see straight and

can’t hear clearly

who are the ones replacing facts with spin

to mislead and mystify

as the beatings and the chokings and shootings

of our boys and men

by these wrong arms of the law

proceed in orderly fashion

before the sometimes sad

sometimes angry faces of

our uncertain

our hesitant