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after not wanting to watch "Time: The Kalief Browder Story" on Spike TV
It rained inside me it is raining inside my neck the rain falls in sheets inside long sheets inside all the rain is falling inside collapsing spit I don't want to watch another black man die today or know the story of how he died today or how he was thrown away or how he ended up I don't want to study the rain from inside the house or overhear wild rain swell & thicken slap the roof with wet words & Kalief who was there when you stopped being & who was there when you were alone & beyond yourself how the water around you from the island around you might have sounded like a chorus who was there who was therewho was there & now everyone is watching your life from inside but I'm afraid to watch them beat you watch torture throbbing dry & long with ache & blue-black bruising so I don't & another black body is blown out smoking wick the lone wisp of a life lingers smelling burnt & gone how rain wraps round a tornado is a type of sorrow because no one knows how to fathom damage inside someone's eyes could be the weather just after or before a storm calm & clear but still bleaker inside the black parts of the pupils the holes smooth black holes in the eyes as they left you in the hole with no rain & I'm emptying a waterfall shouting KALIEF I want you to be undead & not alone lonely in the ground again I want I want (the "I" wants so much) how it greeds like a fist of pounding rain on your body bleating broke but what I want doesn't matter what I want are rare blossoms for the dead because you're gone & your mother is gone all because someone said you stole a backpack meaning your body was made a forgotten altar your body made bodiless kept pushing back as your trial kept pushing back & back & black matter moves backwards in time meaning Kalief matters in the past tense even though the space around your life didn't matter to them or them or them like the space that scatters & navigates around the circumference of raindrops is never wet & the braided distance between you & me is dry & long like time is rainless with a tight & loaded lungful blowing 800 candles out for the 800 days in solitary your brain behind bars fades your body in confinement your chest caged alone your body alone all I hear is your name falling & beating Kalief Kalief Kalief Kalief Kalief this is such a poor offering but I am pouring it on the ground like good rain & whatever softens the earth is your name whatever might grow from that darkening bright spot is your name lapping little lakes of creation turning mud in your name whatever might be fed from the liquid raining inside me whatever might be loosened from the muck & the dark rum pouring from my bottle & Kalief your name is drizzling a type of grief upon my mouth like mist as it reigns inside me it is raining inside my body the rain falls in sheets inside all the rain is untangled & not touching who touched you with tenderness falling inside & Kalief what is there to say after so much rain?
"For this elegy, my intent was to interrogate trauma through psychic negation coupled with a lack of punctuation. I wanted to look without looking at Black death caged by great violence and breathlessness. It's a privilege to turn away from news that makes us uncomfortable; however, Ta-Nehisi Coates insists that '…all our phrasing—race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy—serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this.'" —Tiana Clark
Tiana Clark is the author of Equilibrium (Bull City Press, 2016). She is an MFA candidate at Vanderbilt University and lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
"Disciplines [If there is prayer, there is a mother kneeling]" by Dawn Lundy Martin
"Coherence in Consequence" by Claudia Rankine
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