Empty Tinfoil and Tenfold Erasure – A Poem

The streets have changed we last said hi. We didn’t even have a chance to say bye.

Abandoned blocks bursting with a newfound energy that most call a problem and sometimes even call the police on.

Usually I join in with the beats of the outdoor dance parties, today’s fog, however has created an unusual sense of serenity and solemnity.

His empty tinfoil sits in left hand, red and crevassed with pain and too much labour. Unappreciated labour. Unappreciated and erased history. You weren’t his saviour.

His right hand, acting as the delivery man – delivering this man into a deep sleep but one knocking on death’s door on the daily. He does not fear death for the concrete floor feels warmer and softer either way.

Rest easy for a minute, brother. You need to rest up for the struggle.

But where is rest (what is rest?). A block away another Black man is face down on the ground. Again. Surrounded by uniforms. His screams, I still can hear those screams, falling on deaf ears today made less audible by the protective person equipment worn over their two white masks. One masking their history of brutality, today all  masking their ability to speak in their usual codes and condescension. Who needs the extra protection today?

He screams, high-pitched screams, because he is again down, again down. They formed a barrier around him, shielding the view of passersby folk – pretty much everybody is passing by. Three cop cars, two ambulances, ready to strap him into the gurney today, maybe the grave tomorrow.

The grave offenses of this society, the grave pain of those suffering. I stand between two struggles, stuck wondering whether my lack of Naloxone training and lax notions of proper witnessing make me just another culprit, another player, another tool of their society.

They paid me this month. They probably paid you double. They paid me to keep me away from troubles. Paid me to keep going through this life with a stumble, a mumble, fumbling to position myself properly at the intersection, the crossroads.

Between the man with the empty tinfoil and the tenfold erasure of the Black man being held down by an institution too often not held accountable to past and present wrongs.

I saw you. I shouldn’t have turned and walked away without saying hi. Or bye.

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