Jericho Brown, one of my favorite people at Emory, read at the Decatur Book Festival today and will read again tomorrow! His new book, The New Testament launches on Tuesday, too, so this is a pretty good week for him.



Metal makes for a chemical reaction.

Now that my wrists are cuffed, I am

Not like a citizen. What touches me

Claims contamination. What

A shame. A sham. When the police come

They come in steel boots. Precious

Metal. They want me kicked,

So kick me they do. I cannot say

They love me. But don’t they seek me out

As a lover would, each with both hands

Bringing me to my knees, under God,

Indivisible? I did not have to be born

Here. Men in every nation pray

And some standing and some flat

On their backs. Pray luscious

Silver. Pray Christmas. A chain

A chain. Even if it’s pretty. Even around

The neck. I cannot say what they love

Is me with a new bald fist in my mouth.

Pray platinum teeth. Show me

A man who tells his children

The police will protect them

And I’ll show you the son of a man

Who taught his children where

To dig. Not me. Couldn’t be. Not

On my knees. No citizen begs

To find anything other than forgiveness.

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