poetry & tsismis: emily's blog

July 15, 2013

POEMS: Litany, In Memory of Aiyana Jones & Trayvon Martin

Here are two spoken word poems: the first one is a draft that I wrote the morning after the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, the second one I wrote two years ago.

 

Litany VIII, In Memory of Aiyana Jones and Trayvon Martin

© by Emily P. Lawsin

*

A fellow writer once said that

poems should not just be a list

re-telling events, because that

treads on the territory of

journalism, or gossip rags.

But when you live in a place where

bulldozers routinely tear down

homes with elderly crouched inside,

*

mass destruction is considered

normal, and Black children are shot

after reality TV

crews and SWAT teams ignore dolls and

tricycles in the yard and hurl

flash-bang grenades through front windows,

you search for news reports, hoping

none of your suspicions bear truth.

*

You pause to pray and remember:

*

1929: Fermin Tobera (Watsonville, California).

1955: Emmett Till (Money, Mississippi).

1963: Medgar Evers (Jackson, Mississippi).

1982: Vincent Chin (Highland Park, Michigan).

2006: Fong Lee (Minneapolis, Minnesota).

2006: Chon Buri Xiong (Warren, Michigan).

2009: Oscar Grant (Oakland, California).

2010: Aiyana Jones (Detroit, Michigan).

2010: John T. Williams (Seattle, Washington).

2012: Trayvon Martin (Sanford, Florida).

2013: Rodrigo Abad Diaz (Lilburn, Georgia).

*

These names: just a fraction of a

list of lament. What do they share

in common? Their killers walked free,

only one convicted, but not

until 31 years later.

The story of our nation, stained

by the brown blood of our children,

shot or beaten to death as they

*

rode their bike home, or as they laid

cradled in their beds fast asleep,

or simply walking down the street,

ambushed by bullets, baseball bats,

buried, but never forgotten.

As mothers, what do we say to

our children facing these assaults?

How do we protect them before

*

History repeats itself

Again?

 

 

July 14, 2013

Emily P. Lawsin lives in the metro Detroit area.

 * * *

*

A Litany, To Little White Liars

© by Emily P. Lawsin

 

are you not aware that

our ancestors won revolutions

against centuries of colonial rule

do you not realize that

your people cut our tongues

erased our languages and burned our villages

are you not aware that

we descend from warriors

who fought for this country’s freedom in their sacred homelands

do you not realize that

our parents were held captive as innocent citizens

separated for years in horse stables then behind barbed wire

are you not aware that

our mothers stuffed pillows up their skirts

fleeing to charred hills so your army would not rape them

do you not realize that

our fathers suffered beatings and delirium

in death marches through deserts, yet still survived?

*

THEN LET THIS SERVE AS FAIR WARNING:

*

we know what revolution is

because our ancestors gave birth to it.

*

we taste it in the scars in our mouths

every time we swallow.

*

the poison you bombed our homelands with

seeps out of our blood as daily reminders

*

and we will not rest until the nightmares of sirens

echoed in your voice stops ringing in our ears.

*

Ann Arbor, May 12, 2011

 www.emilylawsin.com

* * *

 

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