Friday, January 02, 2015

New York 2014 – the police refuse their jobs and turn their backs on policing (a poem in first draft - cuz it couldn't wait)

New York 2014 – the police refuse their jobs and turn their backs on policing

Finally the police won’t patrol and we are left
alone to walk while black, or decide upon
school instead of jail or put down laws
in favor of good sense. Or question
the rocket’s red glare or the latest movie which
exalts an American shooter and negates
a foreign life.  Finally the police will turn
their backs on the whole Orwellian
experiment – the magic trick of being black
and dead and still possessing a relevant
toxicology report – being black and murdered
and having what happened in the third grade
brought to bear – being black and murdered
and criminalized for objecting to being black
and murdered.  Finally the police have got something
right.  I’ve waited a long time for this – for the streets
to be safe from tyranny – for front stoop laughter
to replace the nightstick’s rattle against the fence
for the broken fire hydrant to mean the memory
of a hot summer day and nothing else – for no
excited boy to descend into the night
and end up in the precinct, or face down
in the subway, or arrested from a school-
house.  Finally now the senate will turn
its back too – and several high school teachers
and several college professors and several human
resource departments – so that for maybe a week
being black can go unremarked enough to simply
mean human – to not mean big buck, to not
mean there was a robbery in the area and you fit
the description,  to not mean tragic accident
or I thought I was reaching for my taser.
We’ve been waiting for the patrolling
to stop – for the police backs to turn to us
being not necessary to watch us at every turn
and all. We’ve been waiting for Flatbush to
look like carnival again, for the police
to ignore the smell of pineapple kush
on Nostrand or anyone with white tees
spread out against cardboard over a milk crate.
What god gifted us this thing we’ve always
prayed for? To send our children into the streets
and hope they see not one unholstered gun
all day.  Finally they’ve stopped patrolling
and black people can live, and Eric Garner can
rest and Tamir Rice can rest and Michael Brown
can rest, and the city we’ve loved can maybe
revert to its rightful owners, now that the judges’
backs are also turned, and so the prisons
crumble and we come out to call up
at the neighbors’ windows again,
our imaginations grow more room and the city
begins to bloom and make art again
and poor people survive, and Orwell
is finally a liar, and all I can see is thousands
of blue backs unconcerned with where
we go and what we do and thank God

the NYPD finally got it right.

To schedule a reading or an appearance please contact Ofer Ziv at Blue Flower Arts at 845-677-8559 or email


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