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.