I don’t know how to adequately write about things going on in the news at the moment. In a tweet from @EdFelten (embedded at the bottom of my poem), he tells how his daughter picked up what is actually believed to be a Stinger Rubber Ball grenade. This inspired the below.
Would you tell your child about the lucky escape?
And would you, could you, conjur a tape.
To measure the depth or breadth of hateful pain
this Stinger was made to inflict?
Could you explain how it came to be,
this ball of stinging rubber beads.
Unexploded on a street where feet
ran from bullets, spray and gas.
We might have expected light, sound and, yes,
pellets to fly, impressing ‘psychological….physiological effects’
on civilians…citizens…demanding checks
and a change to brutality kneeling on necks. And more.
To a small girl, who saw something new
– and innocently picked it up – this grenade’s truth
will thankfully always be fortune-viewed.
But still there is a history to tell, and true.
Such weapons, oppression, used by state patrols and troops,
against those tired of jumping spiked hoops –
which even jumped-through could result in who dying?
Disproportionately, black lives.
We must disassemble why, and grow our knowledge. Not to flatter.
Because of a simple truth which these Stingers can’t subdue.
And a list far longer than the names for who new hearts have tattered.
George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor.
Black Lives Matter.