Freddie Gray

Ingrid Cruz

Years from now

We’ll look at the

Savage beasts we were

And wonder why

It took us so long to

Hear the dead speak to

Us from the grave.

I’m talking about

Billie Holliday’s

Strange Fruit

And Gil-Scott Heron’s

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Newsflash: it’s not being televised

What’s being televised

Is how not to be a rioter

Newscasters wag their fingers

And evangelists offer prayers,

But they sure as hell

Don’t know the slew of names

Of people who shouldn’t have

Been killed because they were

Existing While Black.

In my head I hear them:

Trayvon.

Oscar.

Renisha.

Michael.

They can’t plead for justice anymore

Our memory of them has to do it for us.

Oh you didn’t hear Emmett Till

Innocently whistling to Trayvon

All the way up in heaven?

You didn’t hear Eric Garner

Still sighing at us from the grave?

The world sees the looters

But won’t acknowledge all the big

And small ways they make

Black death by the police

And their guns a daily reality.

Oh the world likes to

Point out how insured corporations

Are being burned down

But they don’t hear the cries

Of those left behind by

Those killed by the police.

They say Freddie Gray

Ran unprovoked

But I say he was provoked by death itself

I say he ran because he knew

History.

I can’t read the mind of someone

Who is living, and won’t presume

To read the thoughts of someone

Who was murdered

But I can suppose and deduce:

If I had known that a few days

Ago in Tulsa someone else

Someone with my skin color

Had been killed by a bike cop

I would have also been too scared

Not to run.

I would have been too provoked by

The slew of names of other

Innocent black men and women

Who had been killed

And I would have also been irate

At being in back of that van.

I would’ve been so afraid

At the sight of this cop,

I would’ve probably run too.

What about you?