Chorus at a Burning Cop Car
Chorus at a Burning Cop Car
The Black Antifascist
This is Basra. The mutiny of the suplexing flamethrower
engulfing the pigpen. Blowback through cruiser windows
singeing unopenable rear-doors. There is fire in your backseat.
Fire where you would have imprisoned Shadrach and Meshach
in pulled up belt-less jeans behind bulletproof glass
and fading pre-arrest earth bodyslapped against the rear window like a mother.
Now there is fire on the hood where durags squirmed like caught trout, fire where our giants bent like oaks planted under low ceilings, fire where the lionesses were claustrophobic in the backseat and the hell-hounds pawed at the glass. Now your tire is an immolated monk,
its rubber eviserated, and the Quiktrip tries to keep its soul
in its aisles.
There will be a rewilding.
Sea-spray will soak hoodies, and black-tattooed blackskins
touch out at the sun, and the sun will allow to be touched
and will touch blackskins and glisten them like an afternoon ocean.
Woodlands will be hosed down and steaming, overpopulated with ladybugs
and the thugs will know them and not deli counter glass and shouting
and the inevitable darling in full shower-cap and nightgown regalia
will not hear the shot and fall on her knees nor Pietà. The fathers
will not have to wring their shirts, nor pretend to be strong,
nor pretend to grieve.
There is fire over your body cop car. Not since
the grand machine arms that strung you up like skinned cows
placing your pieces in place laying your trunk into sparking metal
have you felt fire. And now to have your municipality stripped off your sides and you authority sunken and your body returned to minerals
and chemicals, you are Negro-toned.
I wonder if, for them, this is their ’16 Jesse Washington.
The QuikTrip their Francis. L. McIntosh tied to the locust tree near 10th and Marketwith the rocks thrown at the cranium to melt it. I wonder if they felt the QuikTrip’s fall in their sides and knew of what it might portend. That they saw 99¢ corn dogs scream for their lives and the gas threaten to blow and hugged up onto their property, kissing the top of their heads behind shut blinds.
God will weep for our lynching of this car. For the bulging of its seat coverings
and the crisp of the cupholders. History will close its books to us and we will have to deny it
and say not to always bring up the past. And we will have to avert our eyes
from rent-a center security cam footage of silhouettes drawing your still beating metal
The black hordes descend in flames over you cop car. They lick at your heels O you QuikTrip. They leap onto your back and beat you and drench you with kerosene and light themselves on fire. There is no justice. Only the Negroes in the trees. And the Vaudeville moon apologizing and apologizing above a black-scarved insurgency throwing Molotov cocktails into art galleries and nurseries. Where are your abolitionists cop car? Who shall set you free? Are there no pickaxe swinging Delta crooners for you O cop car. Your revolutionaries are many but none of them are poets. Q is not crouching atop a Friesian horse with arm extended to snatch our cities back by the scruff of their neck. No, you’ve been cordoned off, cornered, broken into and burned. You melt at the hands of the Wicked of “equality.” Those who would sickle Athens into to a work-camp and elect Senators smacking blackberry jam off their lips. Those who will graduate from cop cars to homes and sheltering places. You martyr, with no tombstone, no epitaph, no burial at sea, save the Darren Wilson bracelets on the wrists of your lovers waving. And the thin blue line pulled above torrents. I will raise that flag. I will step out in shields and helmets and be the last centurion of our days. I will crash into them at full speed mourning the cackling of your dashboards dashed upon the rocks. You, you’ve fenced and wired in the hordes of sambos and pot-bellied wife-beaters with wrist-slapping and court appointments, always knowing the fire was at your back. You heard their cornrow court pleading and gave them our children’s college seats but they lurched in anyway from Ferguson and could only be snuffed out with soldier-men. How many ankle-socked screamers must you mush away from our city gates? O cop car, there were many more beautiful things to die for. You might have wrinkled, had dandelions sprout from within you and Mizzou and Kappa Alpha barmaids a-singin. The blonde ponds releasing their barriers for your tires as you drive until under the golden shields and Viking tresses of Valhalla. Instead you sit, more immobile than an workless negro while yelling thieves tear into another constable’s abdomen. What they emancipated was the end of the world.
Until the prisons are torn down and emptied and fools roam the city with the men who shoot and batter one another I will man the drawbridge. I will spearfish the dragons beneath and drag the traitors in their coffle. If metal becomes ash, become ash my darling cop car. Ol’ blue, Blau tail-feathered Phoenix.
Thus spake my brother Tef Poe, my own brother, told the mobs to calm down
and warned lynching cars will bring nothing but wrath. And that only clowns
will pull in carpet-baggers, and scalawags, and give the National Guard
justification to shoot on sight, and shove the youth into their own shards
of glass like feces. No, this fight is one of cardboard and screaming
and dodging tear gas and flares in a black night and Elohim
with us, and right on our side. Our history is singing voices in county jails
with Jesus-Martin, spake my brother, pillow fighter of states
with my brother DeRay. We sink into their footsteps, their hope
against division, to discover the antidote
that will drag out the antifas by their ankles, pull the Nazis by their pantaloon
straps and the rabble rousers by their Yeezys, and bust the police un-
ions by their just-doing-their-jobs, and their life-on-the-lines,
to charge in with both fire extinguishers and anti-fascist signs
and offer one more hit of Obama. A last fight for a changed America.
And firehose you down o cop car, return you to the shepherd dogs
retrained as shepherds, the coyotes removed from the pack
and confederate battle flags removed from Appomattox
and lion will lay with lamb, Harlem christened New Heartland.
And every prisoner and slave kept in garlands.
The Black Anticolonialist
This is Basra. This is the Indian Ocean removed from the Raj
and returned to Unguja. And the dolphins stripping the surface of the sea
like tuna cans, revealing its flesh to the sun. This is the industrial empire
swooning, fugitive butterflies perched upon its head like vultures.
The slavepens have broken open, Black Marias cowtipped and the men on our necks are assured
that we also have knees. We have choking arms. Not one more back to carry bullets, no automatic fire in the pines, don’t trust that your armies will be faithful. Do not believe that the malformed Negro mind cannot conceive of vengeance.
Last night I dreamt of a garden. Of strange fruit lynching bee attendees suspended in the sky and the shooting men hogtied, and Dessalines calling me in my father’s voice. I dreamt of a garden last night. Of the bleached faces of the washer women mouthing If We Must Die and the hayawans letting the car wash hose whip Arab cars as they leave to Chimurenga. In the garden the sun has set on the empire. In the garden my father was calling me when the men hit their numbers fracking for their people’s remains in Tulsa.
There will be no more Dachaus, and no more Setifs, no Paris Sienes, no Colored Orphan Asylums, no helicopters missile crop-dusting rooftops in Philadelphia, no Colfax and ally eyes shot out. The parade is over, your way of life is done. Put away your Flower de Luce branding irons. We are cornered with backs towards forest fires and faces turned to runlaughing and unmolested loitering. We shall not be moved. We will shove.
The black rooster will crow in Tajikistan. Homages made to Calabar. The shriek of your windows and the pleading of your drivers beads will be our plucked kora o cop car. The exhaust flung and records expunged by expired teargas canisters our Guernica.
You have tied many of my friends to the stake. I have been made to watch them burn. I have seen them beg to be shot as the heat makes their organs fail and they fail to fall out of consciousness. I have seen you say we deserve it.
Burn cop car. It is the least we can do. I have been made to see my brothers in solitary with flowers pinned to their necks. There may be no earth underneath the plantation. I will freefall.