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Hearing the sound
Of sirens blaring
From the street
Doesn’t guarantee me
A feeling of security.
 
Give a thug
A badge and
He’ll swear
He’s a powerful
God over the street.
 
Strutting like Ares,
God Of War,
Rising into real-time
From pages of ancient
Greek mythology.
 
Loved by none,
Hated by everyone.
Trained for war,
Living for carnage.
Wherever he can
 
Prove his point.
Legitimised
Enemy to the people.
Who else
Would leave
 
Empty shells
From fired bullets?
Puddles of blood
On the pavement?
Fear of death in our hearts?
 
Knee in the back,
Knee on the neck–
What’s the difference?
However they’re done,
Submission holds are brutality.
 
High-fives and amens,
Like waterfalls, descend.
Admired for his warrior mindset.
Anointed a lord
Among uniformed vermin.
 
He’s the main reason
Black fathers, Brown fathers
Give their sons and daughters 
The Talk–on proper behaviour.
The boogeyman wears blue.
 
He’s the main reason
Non-White
Lives are stolen
Every 28 hours. [ I would say less. ]
The reaper uses a Glock.
 
We could feel justice
Slipping through
Our fingers
In this historically
Racist country
 
With at least
13 or 1300
Of his sort, working in precincts.
Quarrelsome city-stormer
Hunting for pretexts
 
Any one in the city could be next
For the trigger pull,
Kill at will,
Decreased community,
Body bags to fill–
 
Children have a right to be scared.
Adults have a right to be scared.
Citizens have a right to be scared.
And a right to live free
From the fear on which he thrives.
 
Oppose
The self-ordained
God over the street
Even I 
Wouldn’t bow to.
BIO: African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California. Active on creative writing & Spoken Word since the early 1990s. Author of 7 books–Boneyard, Unwritten Law, Stormwater, Skeletal Black [ all from POOR Press ], Elohi Unitsi [ Conviction 2 Change Publishing ] and his 2 newest, Rusty Gallows: Passages Against Hate [ Vagabond Books ] and Plans [ Nomadic Press ]–and 59 anthology appearances under his figurative belt so far.
book cover of Dominant Genes

BOOK REVIEW: Dominant Genes by SJ Sindu

In S.J. Sindu’s Black River Chapbook Competition winning collection, she posits questions about female bodies and queer identities as a means to confront and interrogate tradition. Dominant Genes serves as

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