You could hear the sound
of the steel
against his body

Still

ricocheting throughout
our ribcages
the day we lost him
our hearts
excavated
left a hollow impression
of life

like the 6-foot hole in the ground they put him in

our spirits bent
with the weight of his casket
the winter threatened
to crack us
open
like the autopsy report
and the newspaper clippings
I’m sure his mama cut
and saved
for fear
of missing him
too much

We pulled from the sky
and collected puddles
on our collarbones

she tucked herself into the folded edges
of her son’s eulogy

We all walked around
like question marks
for weeks
backs so round
knees threatened to buckle

it’s a dangerous place
to find yourself
angry
with no answers
with no solid ground
to stand on

we were floating sage

no lights on this stage
these weren’t actors
on the block
they killed him
the cops
laughed at us
for burning candles
and I wondered
who had taken their humanity
not even hollywood could have conjured up
this sickness

I wondered
about the preacher man
whose voice riddled bible passages
throughout the funeral
and compared his love
to the love of Jesus
but misrepresented
this poet
who wrote prose for the universe’s stolen moments
when he asked all the men
to either unwrap their heads
or leave God’s home
with their anger
still woven
within them

his God doesn’t have arms
wide enough
for the Rastas
the Muslims
the Jews
the mourners
for Tajeme’s friends
who pay homage
by covering their entryway
to heaven

People have a million ways of disrespecting life
you
don’t have
to pull
a trigger

but somebody shot him
multiple times
in the chest and arms
to payback
someone else’s
miscalculated footing

We don’t know what happened

all we know
is that the NYPD sees
black
male
6 feet
5 inches
gun violence

and I have to laugh
to keep from crying
when I think of bullet prices

statistics can feel like sugar
in the sun
to an already open sore

25 cents for a round of bullets?
it costs less than a penny
to kill a human
a brother
an artist
a giver
a believer
of life
a dreamer
of the impossible
a magic maker
who grabbed your hands
and made the impractical
toss-able

an open door

the Cheshire Cat’s smile
on a broke journey
the wind
against your back
if you were hauling ass
or moving
from this side
to the other side
of Brooklyn

it didn’t matter

his hands were big
curled into a fist
his heart was bigger
a sunlight keeper

We know the stars
whitewashed his soul
on his way
to the Creator
and left no sign
of gunpowder
or the smell of fear
on his killers

A penny to a death
can cost a fortune
to your spirit
and all this violence paints
is a people not worth living
in a culture that incarcerates
the darkest children

my heart is bleeding
from the cold slap
insult of ignorance
a post-traumatic slave syndrome
where we settle arguments
like masters

Who planted these seeds?
and who’s gonna reap them?

television
already brain washing
our self image
got us scared
of looking deep
cause we’re scared
of the dark
and black
is bad
and the depth of our soul
is a black hole
that might stretch time
and reinvent the unknown
from the impossible
to the unbelievable

so we tell white lies
to our inner children

and hope the root cause
of this tree
is strong enough
to keep this landslide
from slipping
but we’re dripping more than sweat
playing the wrong hand
we’ve been given

Even though none of us
can believe it

my brother’s death
is not a coincidence
he is a catalyst
for reconfiguring
the sacred geometry
of living

 

by Alixa