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Monday, February 17, 2014


by Tony Rivera

Timothy Stansbury, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Ramarley Graham, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis

Being a big brother is exhausting.
Timothy wants me to pick him up
hold him up high. I oblige, to see him
alive . . . as much as his laughter is painful.

After a game of catch, Sean begs me
to bring him back to the jungle gym his
friends play at . . . be that as it may, be fatal.

Then there's Oscar and I on our way to
a celebration. Taking in his knees on the bench,
face at the window . . . we depart Fruitvale Station.

"RaMarley", "Charley", "Marley Charley" echos
a chorus of joy from the bathroom.  My knock
for the boys to lower their voices . . . is gentle, safe.

There is something peaceful about watching
Trayvon assemble planes, after a football game
. . . I just cant help but turn away, every time he runs.

And I am beat, trying to keep Jordan in one place;
his jokes wear me down to a smile  . . . boy is it loud! 
but boy, am I too tired, to turn the music down.

Being with young brother America, is exhausting.

Tony Rivera is an activist/educator from Brooklyn, New York.  His poetry has appeared in several print and online publications, including: Caper Literary Journal, Yellow Medicine Review, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Verse Wisconsin, and 5x5 Literary Magazine.