Ink Stains


With what ink do your write
your name in freedom’s ledger?
How legible is the debt you
cleared with a noose
or plumes of smoke over watts in 65,
how legible are the bruises written under
orange jumpsuits and booking
numbers, authored by the sheriff that
tazed him in his cell.
Corcoran or Chino,
He beats brail into the walls of
his 8 by 10 with hopes to
splinter the dissonant fingers of lady justice.

“Whose beating those walls” she asks.
But we know,
no cotton can pick the
Black from behind her blindfold.
Whose beating those walls,
those concrete tombs pulled
by the star spangled saddlebred,
galloping under her rein?

They are the offspring
the children of Black power
and white powder.
They are the fallen soldiers of
“I am somebody.”
The empty stomachs of cubs
who lapped eggs and toast
from the panthers paw,
appetites burning like
uprisings of 92,
re-ignited in the stomachs
of Pelican-Bay
cries to end torture

Who’s
beating on those walls?
They are us and
who are we,
when the ink used to
amend freedom
tattooed on the galloping belly
of lady justice’s saddlebred
for the 13th and 14th time
bleeds
into this
illegible nightmare.

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