after Tommye Blount’s ‘The Suit’
Rookie, this shift blows–still, wear your tie, though
in time you’ll goddamn the Southside. Lord knows
I’ve spilled coffee, ink, blood’s the worst. June’s cursed,
dead bodies ride the ‘L’, too broke to hearse.
Rent-to-Own funerals. Hand-me-down wakes,
violate parole, the drama they make:
gravesite / drive-by hospice room/ hostage site.
Handcuffs cut off handouts: Boy, keep it tight,
stand up straight! Dad’s splintered 2 x 4 screamed.
More love for his unit, than us we gleaned.
His basic training: smile/starve, or fight/eat.
I had to swing back to stop getting beat.
10-4, one kid age 5? It’s all good guys
keep our body cam’s off. For spills. That’s why,
✶ ✶ ✶ ✶
through the side alley, a sad cypher blows.
Phone lines, dirty moss, sneaks limp on boughs.
We scared to bear the palls, with bravery:
police been on patrol since slavery.
Juneteenth bouncy house: 12 here? Riot gear!?
Hands on your knees—cha-cha-slide—Freeze! We hear
Captain’s n— n— words flash-bang overhead
Balloon doggies splatter, ooze, ketchup red.
White BLM marchers misspelled #HysNa’me.
Casket-side, bitter sweet cousins play games
beneath Jesus, pinned, whitewashed to the wall.
Who forges scythes to fell saplings so small?
Look y’all– the new one. Tied his tie on me.
See, we’re not all bad.
–But, you’re all not clean.