A Response…

During the Baltimore protests as a response to Mya’s and Freddie Gray’s deaths, my university’s Yik Yak (which is like Twitter, only anonymous) exploded in a flurry of racist comments. My university is in New Jersey, which is nowhere near Baltimore, and in my opinion these comments were in poor taste because it is impossible to fully understand a system you have no relation to, or a hurt you have no concept of. This poem, which I wrote on my 29th day of 30/30, is a response to this racist commentary. 

i have never seen a riot, but
i know what one looks like–
headline’s gut-punch,
front-page-picture cropped,
my friends’ facebook statuses,
full of warning, locations swollen
with teeth and tears, questions
cracked open in a beg for
any answer– when Baltimore
was flirting with the night for
a living, and the system cocked
his gun against her identity,
blew the back out of her wail–
when Baltimore snapped his spine
on the system’s silence, when
that wail bounced off the walls,
broke a few windows, Glassboro–
you do not get to tell a city
how to bury their dead.
Glassboro, i am writing this to
remind you how much ocean
we have ignorance of. how
the titanic was not sunk by
a single angry ice cube, but
by the deepest, most desperate
scream. when the media tells you
about Baltimore’s burning, they
will never admit who was
stoking the flames since before
the first wail– dear Glassboro,
there is no way to set a dead man’s
broken bones; you do not
get to sit in the funeral parlor
of a community and criticize
the decorations– dear Baltimore,
i’m sorry this is a metaphor
and not a solution. i’m sorry this
country can’t see the iceberg.

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