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Wednesday, December 23, 2015


by Elbert Tavon Briggs

front page
u.s.a. nation
minor traffic violation

small town texas justice
does not include us
the lost children from Africa
successful was She

career moved her
hired by HBCU
prairie view of life
celebrating highway drive

back to not so sweet home
lane change should not yield Life
metro chi-town

careless line crossed
close encounter
yet She was not counted as Human
European blue heritage said

“get out of
the car
i will light you up”

two bodies
vanished from
patrol dash cam view
Louis sang, “why must i be so black and blue”

five hundred dollars bail for
escalated minor traffic violation
now criminal justice experts
defend grand jury decision

no acquiescence to
depression from caged
could have been released
on Her own recognizance

with stamped instructions
“pay the fine”
via certified mail
yet She was not fine

as if Chile
should have been happy
getting stopped
and arrested

still two bodies vanished
from dash cam view
steel bars closed in
on Her humanity

found hanging
from plastic bagged-lynch rope
are we suppose to cope
in concrete cage

still most can’t grasp
Sandra’s historic rage

summer of 2015
i rallied before a march
with Her Mother
and so many others
Professor Maya
this caged bird
can’t sing no more

Elbert Tavon Briggs was born 1952 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, raised in Omaha, Nebraska. Elbert studied at Northeastern Illinois University and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. Currently creating with the Randolph Street Poets @ the Chicago Cultural Center and workshopping with Poets & Patrons. This poem reflects my lifelong commitment to incorporate poetry, music, art, dance, and drama, to give voice to the voiceless. Elbert graduated from Arizona State University and served two years in AmeriCorps fighting the war on poverty in the Lower Delta.