Tuesday, March 20, 2012



is a story of steam,
rising like
a swarm of hornets,
singing sight from eyes.
a parable of lava
moldering down a mountain
igniting all green to ash,
is the song of a hit recorded,
number 1 with a bullet.

Is not a story
about "fucking coons"
that "always get away".

Is not a poem
about Emmit Till,
Amadou Diallo,
or James Byrd Jr.

It is not the tale of
a "suspicious" hoodie
in the wrong neighborhood
or a trigger finger with
a "squeaky clean record".
Is not a fable of a corpse
with a bullet hole
that was tested for drugs
and a hand freshly coated
with the back flash of phosphorus
that was not.
This is a story
that checks out,
so the only charges
will be on a credit card
for funeral services.

I did not write this poem
in anger,
I did not write this poem
in "Self-Defense".
I did not write this poem.
Because my pen is empty
From having written & written this poem.

These words exist
only because
while facedown
on the concrete
of the righthand lane
at 10:37 AM
on April 15th, 1987
at 19067 Greenbelt Road
my name was not Gregory Habib,
my sternum
could stand the weight
of the knee between
my shoulder blades,
and the monomaniacal eye
at the back of my head
was a .38 revolver
with a 15 lb. trigger pull
and not the 8 lb pull
of a Glock 9mm.
Because it was all just

a misunderstanding
and have a nice day, Sir.

It is not true that
my eyes are red
as a bag of Skittles
as I write this,
and if my page is dotted
with drops, it is only
Arizona iced tea that is spilled.

This poem pertains to no crime,
contains no trees
with branches strong enough
to bear the weight of a black boy,
contains no rope (of any length),
contains not even a single slipknot.

But it does loop;
like a wandering moose,
a homeward goose,
or a four hundred year old


soucouyant said...

This is IT right here, and is marked as yours by its sound, heart, deft control and integrity of form. Thank you.

Joel Dias-Porter said...

Thank you very much for your very kind words.

Van said...

Man, although this has been one of the least polarizing incidents of racial profiling and hate crime murder I've seen--at least, as I talk to folks here in Michigan, that is--your poem gets to the emotional empathy that doesn't translate as easily in polite conversation. Thank you. Good to hear you again, too! ~V.

seyaht13 said...

Thanks for sending a link to your ink, Man. It's always worthwhile. Hope all's good.

Joel Dias-Porter said...

@Van @seyaht13- Good to hear from you guys, to be honest I was a little surprised at how strong my reaction to the situation was. Not sure how good the poem is or if it will hold up, but it was what I needed to say in this moment.