Assume the Position
By Jive Poetic
The train came with a police officer
on his gun. He shifts his weight
against the door. A flash back loads
the first time a service weapon was pulled in my face;
the second time it made me lay on the ground;
the third time it put my hands in the air; the fourth time
it pushed me against a wall; the fifth time
it told me it was just doing its job; the sixth time
it kicked my feet apart; the seventh time
it followed me home; the eighth time it grabbed my shirt collar.
Read the signs: it’s illegal to move
Read the signs; my body knows
how Klan-rally a cop’s gun feels at eye level.
The ninth time the barrel cocked its head;
the tenth time, it told me it missed me
the last time; it said, burning black bodies is a tradition
it was raised on; the eleventh time the safety and trigger argued
through a range of black fiction. I could’ve been
any made-up one of us: Ricky or Wee-Bey
Mad Max or Tray; we all look the same under the right racism
anyway; the twelfth time it dared me to swing; the thirteenth time
I thought about it; the fourteenth time, I almost did it;
the fifteenth time, there were no cellphones; the sixteenth time
just covered badges; the seventeenth time
it searched me for the broken laws it thought I was;
the eighteenth time I assumed the position without anything
"On a crowded train, a police officer stood against the door. His hand was on his gun...this was his resting position," Jive Poetic told Poets.org. "I worried about fitting a vague description that might come through his radio. This has happened enough times for me to practice phone numbers just in case I got picked up. When I finally got off the train, I thought about the experiences that helped condition my anxiety surrounding police contact."
It was not a very eventful Tuesday, largely due to the ongoing heat. I swept the deck, but that was about all the outdoor time I could deal with until after 6 p.m., when we took a walk and saw many squirrels, chipmunks, even a young buck with fuzzy antlers and a deer right off the path through the neighborhood. We got a food delivery two hours early that made us come racing back in the heat, so at least I got my exercise.
We watched this week's Stargirl, which I liked (I was afraid they were either going to keep Barbara perpetually clueless or make her a hostile obstacle for the rest of the season and I'm sick of adult women being made fools in superhero stories), then we watched a couple of episodes of Down To Earth, which is a bit superficial but pretty fun, since Efron doesn't take himself or his knowledge seriously and there's lots of travel.