“I can’t breathe” (a poem)

“I CAN’T BREATHE!”

The long long night in America
violence, hatred & anger
200+ years overdue if you ask me
and not in the least surprising

“I can’t breathe,” “I can’t breathe!”
The fires of protest burn brightly
and the media focuses on the event
not the root that caused this burning bush to grow

Another black man dies
in police custody
“I can’t breathe,” “I can’t breathe!”
each word like bullets fired from a gun
verbal shots ring out
while 3 cops pin a black man down
one brutally kneeling on the neck
and a 4th stands by complicit

It isn’t enough to suppress the black and brown man
his black and blue soul suffering
under the weight of white oppression
and the poison goes to the very top Mr. President

racism given a badge
There is no honor here
It’s not courage that carries a gun and uses force
only a white coward dresses in blue
and cynically claims
“I’m only doing my job”
when they crush the life
out of a black man already subdued
“I can’t breathe,” “ I can’t breathe”

If we are surprised by the violence
we should be ashamed
If we are shocked by the brutality
we shouldn’t be

If we do nothing
We are complicit
“Please, please, please,
I can’t breathe, please man.”

And another black mans soul
ascends to heaven to early.
“Please, please, please,
I can’t breathe, please man.”

I wrote the above poem in reaction to the brutal killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the nationwide protests and violence that followed 5/31/2020. 

4 essential tracks for this time in America:
The Last Poets – HANDS OFF!


Gil Scott-Heron – HOME IS WHERE THE HATRED IS

The Last Poets – RAIN OF TERROR

War – SLIPPIN’ INTO DARKNESS

Bonus Track – From the film SLAM starring contemporary poet Saul Williams.

 

Choices

in memory of Rod Geiser December 2018

Choices: How Long Does It Take A bullet To Kill?

Choices: Years
It takes years of modeling behavior and molding thought
inspired by wrong perceptions and misplaced values

Choices: Months
There are months of despair
Choices: Weeks
There are weeks of frustration

Choices: Days
Persistent anger for days

Choices: Hours
Decisions made over the course of hours
Choices: Minutes
Actions taken over the course of just minutes

Choices: Seconds
It takes only a second to fire a gun

Choices: Instantly
In an instant the bullet will pierce the body

Choices
…and the destiny of shooter and victim
are irrevocably changed.

Choices
Change MUST come
Politically
Socially
Culturally
spiritually

Choices
Choices I must make
Choices You must make
Choices We must make
The time is NOW.

A Martyr’s Foil

The greatest punishment for martyr-minded people is to allow them to live.
Killing them only fulfills their greatest wish.

~~~

Terrorist’s are made – not born.

~~~

Reacting to terrorism with military and police terrorism, is not defeating terrorism.  It Justifies it.

~~~

We create our own enemies through marginalisation, seclusion and economic poverty.  

~~~

Fighting martyr-minded people is like trying to heal a heroin addict by giving them cocaine.

Enjoy this scene from a wonderful movie PARADISE NOW (2006) in which the main character, Said, explains why he becomes a suicide bomber.

Sami Yusuf – FORGOTTEN PROMISES

Maher Zain – LOVE WILL PREVAIL

As-salāmu `alaykum

The thoughts listed above are my own. Any similarity to other quotes is purely incidental and accidental.