The figure of a large
unarmed middle-aged black
skinned man drowns in a fog
of gun smoke and his own blood,
beneath two badged blue-uniformed
policemen holding guns with triggers
completely pulled, magazines empty.
An eight point buck hangs head down,
feet tethered to a large oak,
reminds me of a thing of beauty,
desiccated, emasculated, wasted, bled,
hung out to dry for the glory
of the commemorative photo;
great white hunters stand
proudly in solidarity nearby.
But in Baton Rouge, the red stick,
there are no antlers, no ruminants,
no prosecutors, and no meat lockers.
The conviction rate for law enforcement
officers murdering black men is .01%
from all white juries. Although black
skinned persons comprise less than 25%
of the population, they comprise 100%
of all officer-related murders in Baton Rouge.
Flagrant fragrance, flat line, no scents at all,
no rhyme or reason, a dead fall.
John Dooley lives in the national forest near Prescott, Arizona, teaches in the Masters in Counseling Psychology program at Prescott College, and advocates for peace.