Poem for George Floyd and Derek Chauvin

It’s more than us, you,
the lungs kneeling in the street
submission and worship
those who love and loved you
the weight of your naked hearts
your past lives on loop
the death on loop
or your ghost passing hand to hand
through the Third Ward––

It’s auditions for the dream
and the nine minutes of fame
televised 24/7
diaphragms of the jury pool
silence, torture, and air hunger
summers in hell
fires in a developed world
America or Samaria
the law of retaliation
lingo and
God and nature
the kids, the plague, the monuments
job-loss, debt, privacy, and expertise
gravity and speed of death
adrenaline and counterfeit presidents
how 20 becomes 25 million
underage testimony
yearbook dreams and crack-cocaine
the last 2000 years
punchlines and methamphetamines
those who collect corpses for resumés
presidents of the united states
Class and race
character and
it’s not just you and the state and the body
it’s sledgehammers and altars a thousand miles away
my friends who reject
the cubism of courtrooms
their riptide of conclusions
me and the reader
innocence, evil
perception and
ash and power
hysteria, outrage
deployments on main street
fates in the afternoon
supply and demand
our ignorance
intolerance and
payouts to consequence
our dead ends, our gas stations
guilt and shame
past and present tense
witness and activist
tears on the stand
forecast and retrospect
bodegas, weather, and chemicals
trauma and childhood
an oath, the fifth, and
stolen pills
forgery and
importance, patience, and
your Honor and sympathy
sacrifice and care
control and embrace
cathedrals to crime
cathedrals to war
cathedrals to law
cathedrals to bias
cathedrals to science
cathedrals to narrative
cathedrals to good
cathedrals to judgment
cathedrals to last words
cathedrals to first impressions
cathedrals to your choice of satan
cathedrals to what damage $20 can do
cathedrals to make your death a metaphor
cathedrals to make every sunset a eulogy
cathedrals to policy and body language
to virtue and precedent
to the soul and social graces
to the limits of free will
to the loneliness of gods in their cells
to Your faces stretched across the burning building
to Hollywood assassinations and
misplaced terror
to a room of strangers echoing the crowd gathered on the steps
to the way the living make the sad dance
to the way the living make the dead scream and the way all your crosses burn at your cathedral’s request
to elements
to malice
to prudence
to interpretation
to a single, solemn vote
to public opinion
to the system
to you and him
both of you
you and your body
the body and you
the size of our hearts upon
heartbroken cities
It’s all on trial
bad luck and good deeds
regret, failure, and revision
selective redemption
the sacrifice of peace deals
what you tell yourself at night
crisis and performance
our own eyes
the organs
blood vandals
yours and mine
each cathedral

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