Friday, December 19, 2014

Deadly James by James A. Emanuel


Deadly James

(For All the Victims of Police Brutality)

The killer-cops, the San Diego three,
what made them think you deadly, James?
I take their guilty heads into my arms;
I cradle them,
my tendons hush their eyes,
illumine them to see the years roll back:
your little window, James, unsealed,
your palomino rocking horse,
his glassy eyes unquiet
when the sudden blood that splashed his ivory mane
told you the table knife you sucked on
was different, could also spit upon the tawny rug
breathtaking tracks ––
deadly, James.
I embrace their heads more tightly;
their veins bulge to understand you, James,
you, hardly old enough to run,
dancing solitary in the Brooklyn rain
your older playmates dashed from,
your arms and lips and laughter reaching up
for all the sky could pour
upon the rivers capering inside you ––
deadly rivers, James?
I hug their heads
with strength I had saved for you, James:
their eyeballs darken as they strain with me
to find you practicing your saxophone,
lying in the quilted heaps your head poked up
around your stocking feet – the littered outpost
of that farther wilderness you made your room,
“NO ENTRY” blazed across the door
to guard your heartbeats
when your golden horn believed its one-man note ––
that wild sweet loneliness you cried ––
beguiling neighbors into forgiveness
before you fumbled scales beginners know,
You began at the top, James,
deadly.
I clasp their heads more fiercely,
empowered by the memory of you
stranded where they bled you down
into your smallest drop,
gunhammers cocked and nightsticks sinewed ––
all three bewildered to find beauty
defiantly beyond them,
a tiny, dark-brown flower: the grain of you, James
erect,
watered back to momentary life
by your manful tears.
In my iron arms their heads turn dry,
drop hollow to the ground…
If your new, unearthly wisdom bids you,
raise them.
But whenever you feel blood again,
or rain, or music,
pray your innocence be deadlier, James,
much
deadlier.



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