Friday, March 30, 2012

Poem of the Week: Joel Dias-Porter

Joel Dias Porter
Photo by: Taylor Mali


is a story of steam,
rising like
a swarm of hornets,
singeing sight from eyes.
a parable of lava
moldering down a mountain
igniting all green to ash,
the song of a hit recorded,
number 1 with a bullet.

Is not a story
about "fucking coons"
that "always get away."

This is not a poem
about Emmet Till,
Amadou Diallo,
or James Byrd Jr.

It is not the tale of
a "suspicious" hoodie
in the wrong neighborhood
or a trigger finger with
a "squeaky clean record."
Is not a fable of a corpse
with a bullet hole
that was tested for drugs
or a hand freshly coated
with the back flash of phosphorus
that was not.
This is a story
that checks out,
so the only charges
will be on a credit card
for funeral services.

I did not write this poem
in anger,
I did not write this poem
in "Self-Defense."
I did not write this poem.
Because my pen is empty from
having already written & written this poem.

These words can be heard
only because
while facedown
on the concrete
of the righthand lane
at 10:37 AM
on April 15th, 1987
at 19067 Greenbelt Road
my name was not Gregory Habib,
my sternum
could stand the weight
of the knee between
my shoulder blades,
and the monomaniacal eye
at the back of my head
was a .38 revolver
with a 15 lb. trigger pull
and not the 8 lb pull
of a Glock 9mm.
Because it was all just

a misunderstanding
and have a nice day, Sir.

It is not true that
my eyes are red
as a bag of Skittles
as I write this,
and if my page is dotted
with drops, it is only
Arizona iced tea that is spilled.

This poem pertains to no crime,
contains no trees
with branches strong enough
to bear the weight of a black boy,
contains no rope (of any length),
contains not even a single slipknot.

But it does loop,
like a wandering moose,
a homeward goose,
or a four hundred year old

-Joel Dias-Porter

Used by permission.

Joel Dias-Porter (aka DJ Renegade) was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, and is a former professional DJ. From 1994-1999 he competed in the National Poetry Slam, and was the 1998 and 1999 Haiku Slam Champion. His poems have been published in Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Callaloo, Ploughshares, Antioch Review, Red Brick Review, Asheville Review, Beltway Quarterly and the anthologies Gathering Ground, Love Poetry Out Loud, Meow: Spoken Word from the Black Cat, Short Fuse, Role Call, Def Poetry Jam, 360 Degrees of Black Poetry, Slam (The Book), Revival: Spoken Word from Lollapallooza, Poetry Nation, Beyond the Frontier, Spoken Word Revolution, Catch a Fire, and The Black Rooster Social Inn. In 1995, he received the Furious Flower "Emerging Poet Award." Performances include the Today Show, the documentary SlamNation, on BET, and in the feature film Slam. A Cave Canem fellow and the father of a young son, He has a CD of jazz and poetry entitled 'LibationSong'.

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1 comment:

Joseph Ross said...

This is an excellent poem, Joel. It honors the truth.