Posted tagged ‘fuck your breath poem’

Out of the Box

April 13, 2015

screenshot 2015-04-12 11.25.54.png

Out of the Box

“I closed the box and put it in a closet.”  Joan Didion.

Blood will out.
Maybe not as anticipated.
To date, DNA has exonerated
over 300 people post-
conviction in the U.S.,
more than twenty on
death row.
The total of time wrongly served–
4,505 years.

“Out out damn spot,”
the police shout,
though they use
other terminology:  “Fuck
your breath.”

Death ensues.
People try
to sue.
The black cat bricked up behind the wall,
while quick,
snarls, yowls.
Thank God for cell phone cameras.


Here’s a sort of poem for the 13th (I’m guessing) day of April, 2015 National Poetry Month.  This is for Susie Clevenger’s prompt on With Real Toads to write about a Joan Didion quotation.  My figures are taken from the “Innocence Project,” which is a charitable organization in the U.S. that devotes itself to the exoneration of persons wrongfully incarcerated. The quote “fuck your breath” comes from the case of a  recent shooting death in Tulsa, Oklahoma, perpetrated by a “deputy” to the Tulsa Police Department, who is a man who donated large amounts of money to that police department and was allowed to serve as a reserve police member.  He ended up shooting Eric Harris, claiming the death was accidental; that he had only meant to taser Mr. Harris.  (Question–why would he taser the guy anyway?)  The case is reminiscent of the Eric Garner case in Staten Island, New York, in which an African-American man who was suspected of selling loose cigarettes without paying the sales tax on the cigarettes was pressed down into the sidewalk until he died, all the way protesting, I can’t breathe.    

Honestly, I should write a poem about how I’ve bricked all this up myself, really not conscience of all that has been going on in the criminal “justice” world and the war on drugs, despite my childhood in what was then the South – D.C. and Maryland.  Another poem when I can stomach it. 

Screen shot is from the New York Daily News.