“things a black man hates to see”

the last swallow of  Hennesey lingering conspicuously in the corner of the bottle

a empty sandwich bag corner or a full sandwich bag corner and nothing to roll with

a empty pack of Newports, jug of kool aid and/or the conspicuous lack of women
at the party he waited all week to attend

closing time

the spectre of a closed office door before the bad news

the security escort out the building

text messages that don’t include the words fucking, weed or party
(or at least an acronym of  similar affectation)

the collection plate

another man’s photo saved in the gallery of his girl friend cell phone

the silent vacancy on the bed side table of his unlocked cell phone

“period panties” &  a “side chick’s” positive pregnancy test results

payroll deductions of any kind
(including but not limited to FICA, garnishments, and child support)

dudes in shirtless Instagram photos or Facebook/Twitter profile pics

a empty wallet

the ominous red and blue kaleidoscope whirling behind him


the ominous red and blue kaleidoscope conspiring
with the screams of women around his homeboy’s cadaver

the business end of a pistol, a baton or the consternate reflective silver of wrist shackles

the back seat of a cruiser

his best friend’s signature on statements in the discovery packet

his mother’s eyes when they hand down a guilty verdict

the prosecuting attorney’s smile

a public defenders apathetic posture

the blackness of the robe & heart of a judge

mandatory over sentencing

the seat back and dingy floorboard of the transport vehicle upstate

razor wire, miles upon miles of concrete, steel doors and communal lavatories

reception/orientation rules, visitation regulations, alphanumeric inmate identification

“shit on a shingle” and the pail off white gunk plopped on their meal tray

reflective surfaces that catch the shame and panic in their incarcerated eyes

the arrogant glare of a correction officer at roll call

the hurried penmanship in “dear john letters” or the absence of letters at all


“regretfully informing you of your grandmother’s passing”

“regretfully informing you of your parole board denial”

“happy birthday daddy, I wish you were home”






the misery of a lonesome heart held hostage
by past infractions that feel like more folklore and fairy tale
then a felony offense

post commitment criminal history questions on job applications

food stamp application denials

minimum wage pay check stubs

clear heels on your daughter’s feet

a son who is a stranger that wears your eyes

unemployment denial letters

this poem and the tragic fact for some of us

far too many of us

know far too well

that this land is not our own

we are hunted in the daylight

taken away

give away

have stolen

our freedom

and the callused cynicism & apathy

of the obedient, ambitious or just plain lucky

who will never know

the things we see

the pain we feel

and the nights we cry ourselves to sleep…


4 responses to ““things a black man hates to see”

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