Cops Kill Black Men

Listen to my latest poem, Cops Kill Black Men, about Vallejo CA with an original soundtrack by Alameda composer Howard Harawitz. It is a regional story resounding globally. Vallejo CA is in need of a new police chief with a pro-people approach. Image was drawn by Nina Serrano from “Heart’s Journey”, from book two of Heart Suite Trilogy.

Text of poem:

Cops Kill Black Men

Cops kill black men
Everybody knows it even if we don’t mention it
We can’t call the police
when it might be prudent
because we fear that someone
who is black may be anywhere nearby
and might end up dead over a small civil matter
compared with human life
The news story says a black man was sleeping in the car
with a gun in his lap in the parking lot
Afraid to wake him
they shot him in unison 20 times
He was a young man
now mourned by grieving family and friends
So did he have a gun in his lap while he slept in the driver’s seat
or was it planted there by his murderers to explain his death to the taxpayers?
How could he fall asleep with a gun in his lap
so near his privates
what if he triggered it in his sleep
Wouldn’t that thought alone keep him awake
Too many guns, everywhere guns
In England the police didn’t used to carry gun
If only we didn’t just copy their language
but considered their constabulary tradition
worth emulating.
As Gilbert and Sullivan said
“A policeman’s lot is not a happy one.”
Crime and punishment make a shadow
where our hate, fear, and violent anger is controlled
We cast the police as the guardians of our safety
The jails as our protection
Laws as our rules of behavior
The devil laughs pitchfork in hand
administrating justice
where money is might and right
in a racist unjust system trying to fool destiny
as we pollute and consume
the fundamental elements needed for human survival
We choke on the smell of the sulfur of evil
in this eternal conflict
between good and bad
hate and love

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About Nina Serrano

Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 84 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to ninaserrano.com or contact her publisher at estuarypress.com. For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.

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