Four Poems: For Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin



For TM, July 14, 2013

justice is a crystal ball
not a brick thrown

it is a promise
of this will be

there will be no need
for tears shed in mourning

justice is a hand extended
and not an open wound

justice is the final mirror
for everyone anywhere to see

justice is a whisper
justice is a shout

justice is a fist raised
justice is a head bowed

justice is a statue
justice wears a blindfold

but in the hands of humans
justice is a noose

justice is a hand cuff
justice is a prison cell

justice is a hollow cry
justice is a bitter lie

—P.L. Thomas


hoods (justice pt. 2)

So the thing that bothered me most was that the condemned man had to hope the machine would work the first time….I’d been struck by this picture because the guillotine looked like such a precision instrument, perfect and gleaming.

Albert Camus, The Stranger, pp. 111, 112

we pretend this is our past
although sullied and something we have moved beyond
our dark history we proclaim

those public executions
hooded and marched onto the platform for guillotine or noose
the faceless justice rendering criminal

the white noise of the machine of justice
this zombie lullaby driving our march

black boys in the hood
a black boy in a hoodie
always up to no good

stand your ground
gun them down
black and brown

these living dead should haunt us
doomed caged cast aside instead

—P.L. Thomas


criminal acts (black&white)

for Jordan Davis, February 19, 2014

in a white rage & armed
he felt his life threatened

by their criminal acts
of simply being blacks

he shot into their fleeing car
to stop them in their tracks

later much later he wrote a letter
in black&white to tell the facts

what had he done within his rights
wielding a gun as a criminal axe?

was it a mistrial or miscarriage of justice
standing his ground between whites&blacks?

—P.L. Thomas


misfire (trigger warning)

Michael Dunn pulled the trigger
to erase Baldwin’s “bad nigger”

Jordan Davis just one in a car of four
playing music loud and black died

justified? we cried

the verdict lied! we cried

in a black and white video from 1963

Baldwin speaks with his hands and determination
a white wisp of cigarette smoke crossing his black face

“Well, I know this,
and anyone who has ever tried to live knows this:
what you say about somebody else,
anybody else,
reveals you.” …

“We have invented the nigger.
I didn’t invent it.
White people invented it.” …

“But if I am not the nigger,
and if it’s true that your invention you drew,
then who is a nigger?
I am not the victim here.” …

“And I give you your problem back.
You’re the nigger baby.
It isn’t me.”

Dunn’s hand held a gun
aimed at a thug he invented

three fingers pointing back
a trigger warning
a misfire

—P.L. Thomas