Activist Art

First Offense

I barely remember the facesof the officers just a warm,wet breeze tugging the shirtagainst my sweaty body

the red & blue lights flashingoff the buildings around uswhile I’m patted down beforewalking the curb and countingbackwards from 90 to 69

I was 16 never drove throughthe city alone was followingmy mom returning a rental

I tried to tell them this and howwe lost each other in traffic, butthey appeared clueless as ifI spoke in some alien tongue

you have any narcoticson you, they asked, haveyou been drinking?

I’ve never smoked reefer and stillhate the taste of beer, my dad willtell you this laughing about the timeI picked up his can of coke andchoked on the rum he’d mixed in

or how under interrogationhe found out my brother’d beendrinking his Hennessey

step out of the vehicle!

it was evening.. a kid pointedout the window of his parents’car at a red light

and I was once that child, watchingother young brothas handcuffed,sitting on the curb while their trunksand backseats were searched

my mind constructinga series of scenarios forhow they got themselvesinto that situation

wondering at 10, whythose guys didn’t like thefriendly police, who werejust doing their jobs