October 26, 2012

poem 399 of a poem a day for 2012




driving, the six feet inside a pine box car, down the mountain

right before you shot me to death
you might have been
imagining my criminal behavior
but I was only listening to Kate Bush
when my fire was turning past you
parked on the side of road, waiting
to turn on your lights
in someone’s rear view
I was mining magnetic force
wings beaten
heart flying
horseshoes and hand grenade
hoping someone else
could have been buying
your attention

locker-ed steel
gated brigade
you pull me over
and I am
pouring sweat
id please
you
the officer asks
immediately
profiling me
my race and secular affiliations
my material wealth or lack thereof
any access to fresh food
my skin might show
and all my ultra violet inks
all my tattoos
all my cancers
and any ideology
I may ascribe to
that maps
what you make up
what explains
how much a fit
I am, in the box
you already
had waiting 
for me

pieces of my eight
are traded
for something
removable
for something
that is right now
for something
as dark as mistrust
for something
that gives meaning
in return
for my humanity

I can stand
to fall
to be burned
beyond recognition
you have me inventoried
now, I must have been
reaching for a weapon
I must have been
almost ready to become agitated
as you already stated
to the second responder
you must have accidentally
turned your dash camera off
in the hurry to save your life

though your eyes, officer
are a camera too, and
that never turns off
it never changes
what it sees  
what it smells
what it means
when you look
in the mirror
and find something
elementally missing
from inside your soul
every moment after
you pull that trigger
like you know
you are going to do
in a few moments
when I reach
with a nervous jerk
for my punch out slip
from work that night
to prove to you
where I was when
you asked randomly
what was I doing
at such a time
when you me pulled over
because you said
I was weaving
within the lane

and just then
at that moment
when life and
its incessant
individual melodies
collide with death
a message
of chance
will see
our two paths
in the stop
wait click
bang bang
slump quiet
traffic whirring by
rubber necking
slow down crane
bent knee, to see
vicariously misty
how sweetly
a criminal dies
in flashing lights
with multiple back-ups
and ambulances 
for a dog
and pony show
grief counseling
and oxygen
for the shooter
standing by

both of us
will be frozen
in an instance
and you will 
still be breathing
and I will be 
stuck trying
we attempt
a language of eyes
neither of us understands
and the conversation just ends
with your protocol story lines
and you and I hoping
someone can translate
what happened
between the lines
before this night is through

someday
though
I know
you too, will die
as I look out
and take one
last breath
and I think
about what everyone
might say
happened here
late tonight
desolate stretched
on the highway’s
wrong side
of the town
you pulled me over
and I realized
as the bullet
was exiting my back
that I was on
the wrong side of life
but the right side
of writing one last
tombstone poem
by the railroad tracks

EJR ©

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