While Being

the weight her frame withers to betray her grief
as you slink into a cause, case, memory, or
the Opportunity that pulled at the seams
of your village.
So you should be aware that you also should not
purchase candy, soft drinks, or cigarettes;
wear hoods in rain, pray in a sanctuary, swim in a pool,
shop and handle goods, fall asleep on a public bench;
play music in your vehicle, request assistance when in crisis,

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WHILE BEING
since Amadou Diallo (9/2/1976 ~ 2/4/1999)

Do not walk to your home from work
late at night
through your own neighborhood
wearing your skin
and your guard
because your ear and tongue
have not quite learned
to work together
to make sense of the language
of a land
where you will never learn
that opportunity retracts its finger
on triggers of steel, suspicion, or descriptions
with fits like racks of sweaters
in the fluorescent light of department stores
piped in as your mother’s wail, a moan. And
the weight her frame withers to betray her grief
as you slink into a cause, case, memory, or
the Opportunity that pulled at the seams
of your village.
So you should be aware that you also should not
purchase candy, soft drinks, or cigarettes;
wear hoods in rain, pray in a sanctuary, swim in a pool,
shop and handle goods, fall asleep on a public bench;
play music in your vehicle, request assistance when in crisis,
walk down public streets wearing earphones, drive;
own a home and expect to decide who may/not enter,
sleep on your grandmother’s couch;
lay on your belly while restrained in handcuffs,
stand on a median, find yourself homeless,
suffer anxiety, a stroke, or melanin
without due caution.
These have been known to cause
death and in severe cases media blackouts,
release of juvenile records, broken necks,
and pressure pustules that can erupt into infectious rage:
riots, soundbytes, careless wielding of quotes
jaggedly stitching your wounds,
all packed and stuffed with newspaper
where each organ is reduced to pink rubber flakes
of the mistake they made of Being.

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