REVIEW AMERICANA

 

Fall 2015

Volume 10, Issue 2

http://www.americanpopularculture.com/review_americana/fall_2015/dillon.htm




ANDREW P. DILLON

 

American Infrastructure, 2015

 

I can buy either gas or groceries   rent is due next week   utilities tomorrow   clutch    going
out    can wait       after Christmas    tires need rotated       filters and

hoses    clogging they’ll       make it    a few more months    cavity on this molar
can chew       with the other side       this sickness

      can be cured       with antibiotics       I have
no insurance       but I’m paid       Monday

     get groceries       toast and jelly
                  tonight                just get me through

          Monday without           hot water
tank leaking                                      get me through

Monday
          without           brakes                            failing

               without                a car
                             accident                      a tornado

a strike                            God,                                 just
                                get me through

               Monday                                and
                                     I can
                                                                    make it

 

 

 

Summer 2014

with thanks to Danez Smith for the call-to-action

 

2014 was the summer of bootstrapping.
It was the summer of reverse racism.
It was the summer of I don’t see color.
It was the summer of when a cop tells you to do something
It was the summer of what about black-on-black crime?
It was the summer                                                    President Obama
had                                                                                “no sympathy.”

2014 was the last summer of                                      Michael Brown,
who was unarmed,
and in consecutive moments, Hulk Hogan and it
a demon rushing.
It was the last summer of                                                  Eric Garner,
who was unarmed, and said,

                             “Every time you see me,
                          you wanna mess with me.
                                             It stops today,”

and was right.
It was the last year of                                                 Rumain Brisbon,
who was unarmed.
It was the last summer of                                             John Crawford,
who held a pellet gun.
It was the last year of                                                         Tamir Rice,
who held a pellet gun.
It was the last summer of                                           Kajieme Powell,
who held a knife.
It was the last summer of                                                    Ezell Ford,
who held a knife.

It was the last summer of                                      Laquan McDonald,
who held a knife.
It was the last summer of                                               Darrien Hunt,
who held a blunt sword.
It was the last year of                                                       Akai Gurley,
who held a door handle.
It was the last summer of                                        Cameron Tillman.
It was the last summer of                                        Roshad McIntosh.
In the country where at least one more black boy
is buried since you began reading this poem.

2014 was fifty years after the Freedom Summer.
It was sixty-three years after the killing of                     Sam Shepard.
It was fifteen years after the killing of                           Amadou Diallo.
It was eight years after the killing of                                     Sean Bell.
It was five years after the killing of                                   Oscar Grant.
It was three years after the killing of             Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.
It was two years after the killing of                           Kendrec McDade.
It was one year after the killing of                              Jonathan Ferrell.
It was one year after the killing of                                    Kimani Gray.
It was one year after George Zimmerman
was acquitted for killing                                             Trayvon Martin—
when my friend asked Facebook and the world,
                                                                           “Can we all see now?”

And no,                                                                                        Justin,
I don’t think we can. Even with boots
in the streets and hands in the air. Even with
cell phones recording. Even if
every cop wore a body camera. Because even though
this poem tallies twenty-one dead, we still say
stop pulling the race card. Even if these margins

listed every unarmed black man
shot by police, with the title,
“Elegy for the American Dream,”
we’d still say don’t forget about Irish indentured servitude.
We’d still call black protests riots, brand victims
thugs, criminals, looters, dismiss kids
like me and high school friends,
guilty of #crimingwhilewhite.

2014 ended with no charges
for Darren Wilson or Daniel Pantaleo.
No certainty of the annual count of                             Eric Garners and
                                                                                      Michael Browns
whose last whispers are the ghosts
they breathe through blood into urban concrete—

                                                                                        “I can’t breathe.”
                                                                                    “I don’t have a gun.
                                                                                           Stop shooting.”

—the ghosts we envoke with howls
and hashtags, pleas and poems.
No song, still, for mothers who search
smoldering cities for sons—
no song but the litany of names
they chant, praying it pulls
ghosts from their graves
of stone, and tar, and smoke, and blood.

 

 

 



 

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