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Ballad of Eric Garner

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  • Ballad of Eric Garner

    A murder of crows draped the branches of a Staten Island tree like a homicidal cloak
    All the boughs were bowed and blackly flapping on a routine summer’s day
    Vultures of virtue pecked at the maggoty meat of justice’s carrion
    Ravens swarmed where pigeons instinctively fled, coming up fast was the real bird of prey

    Someplace far off in the borough a church bell tolled
    An unmarked cop approached with some questions and a rookie for a partner
    The streets went quiet, no tweets, no riot, just the sound of a chokehold
    Muffling the last repeated words of poor Eric Garner

    I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe
    Please sir, you’re hanging me with my own funeral wreath
    Yes you can’t breathe, the boys in blue understand it
    But it’s our job to rid society of bandits

    I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe
    If not for me, then think of the other mouths that I must feed
    Yes you can’t breathe, we heard you the first time, but we’ve reason to believe
    That you hawk cigarettes and being poor is the worst crime

    The sky grew dark like the sun just shut off
    A long black cloud started to spread like the wing of a rook
    I finally figured out the formula, cracked the Machiavellian mystery
    Impoverish the victim, persecute them as an enemy and then cite some old book

    But truth be told there weren’t no actual birds involved, this ain’t an Aesop Fable
    That was a real man who was savagely robbed of oxygen
    Who earlier that day broke up an altercation, then lay on the autopsy table
    Pronounced dead by asphyxiation, naked as a plantation after being met with a cotton gin

    I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe
    You’ve made your point, my heart is on your sleeve
    Rest your eyes, you’re about to be left to die and I will get away with it
    It doesn’t matter who testifies or even if somebody’s taping it

    I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe
    Even though to you I’m no better than a beast, don’t I deserve the right to live?
    Yes you can’t breathe, but what are we to do, turn you loose?
    Your kind can never seem to obey the law, haven’t you seen the news?

    The honorable courtroom consisted of more WASP’s than a swamp
    The officer’s reports were fishy, the higher the rank, the fouler the stench
    Incensed in disingenuousness, they claimed it was health problems that did him in
    Oh yes, and also let the record show that George Zimmerman is a mensch

    The press outside played catch-up
    The proceedings experienced a hiccup
    Prosecutors gave the truth a patch-up
    Squabbling over the difference between a pat-down and stick-up

    The judge surely needed a bib after being force-fed all the fibs
    But the grand jury concluded that the constable couldn’t be held responsible
    For using a banned maneuver on Garner, a friend to all on his block
    Rhyme and verse doesn’t reverse verdicts, so a quest for redemption is mission impossible

    Hell, I can’t breathe either Eric, a bit of me dies too
    When poisonous colors get dyed in with the red, white and blue
    Consider this a clarion call for peace, and let it be said in my treaty
    To the N.Y.P.D, that all brute force must cease before there’s any more harm
    And until that day then every man, woman and child with a windpipe is behind your forearm

    I can’t breathe
    Someone tell my story, about the hard road I came down
    Ask of people what it would be like if we came from the same town
    And if they knew the bigotry and blackmail of being a black male in the gutter
    Make them wonder what unheard cries for help might they mutter
    Now doesn’t it make you seethe? Well relax and enjoy your privilege
    You can breathe

  • #2
    I couldn't breathe either. Or I can't remember breathing. This grabbed me by the collar and wouldn't let go till it had made itself perfectly clear. In my face.

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    • #3
      Amazing writing! So much truth! Eric Garner's death is an injustice! Racism, violence, and brute force must cease in order for our communities to grow, heal, and progress! Your writing is fantastic!

      Comment


      • #4
        This is a write that conjures up Bob Dylan's Hurricane and forty one shots by Bruce Springsteen. A much deserved award winning and magnificent write. Congratulations!
        Last edited by Bobby Del Boy; 05-16-2016, 08:11 AM. Reason: Add additional comments

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        • #5
          This is so outstanding -- I am speechless -- congrats! Absolutely wonderful!!!

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          • #6
            Slamming...and damning...Jcabrera4! Congratulations on your win!

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            • #7
              Cannot remember when I've read something so good. Thanks for sharing.

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