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Thoughts and Thickets - 4

United We Weep


Once it was a gray hoodie

that made us weep.

A box of Skittles, a can of tea

that drove us into the thicket.

Then it was loose cigarettes and a burned-out tail light,

an unused seat belt and a plastic gun

that pushed us

deeper into the thorns.


Why, we scream,

 Why must we give up the street corner or the park?

Abaddon the sidewalk or the convenience store?

Why are we left scratched and bleeding,

A nation without healing?


How could this happen, we wail,

our communities crushed,

and left to wither among the shards,

with only a broom

to find the way out.


Where do we wander,

when the briarpatch is relentless,

and tangled with our tears?

When it is flooded

by those blue, flashing lights.?

We cannot think,

and retreat deeper still,

stumbling among the the thorns

of the criss-crossing brambles..


Why? we cry for Trayvon Martin,

Why? for Michael Brown and Eric Garner,

For Ezell Ford and Tamir Rice,

Walter Scott and Freddy Gray.



And if, in all the prickly turmoil,

we answer “Racism,”

then the question is still


And if we try again,

and the answer is

“inadequate training,”

then the question is still


And if the answer becomes

“lack of respect,”

or “lack of trust,”

then the question is still



And if the answer is

“we don’t know,”

then we are consigned

to the thickets empty-handed,

our ideas shredded,

but our psyche shared.

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