Konch Magazine - Seven Poems by Tony Medina
Tony Medina
 
 
 
My Skin Is a Target Study
 
 
For arrogant ignorant rookie cops
A bull’s eye usual suspect
Broad daylight shot in the dark
 
My skin goes off in airports
Wrestled to the ground
By guards at security checkpoint sites
 
My skin glows in the dark
Blinks at traffic stops
Hurls itself off tall buildings
 
It hangs on clotheslines
Hooks itself to the back of pickup trucks
Scrapes along shitty concrete streets
 
Like lightening bugs
 
It hides and ducks at shopping malls
It shrinks and shrivels in welfare hotels
My skin is used to buff rich people’s floors
Shine the knobs of closed doors
 
It’s used to play a backbeat rhyme
With nightsticks & .45s on time on time
 
My skin is used to cover baseball fields
Deflect bullets and gets reeled out
Of border patrolled waters
 
It’s full of sugar and salt
Full of sadness and rage
 
It multiplies behind bars
Gives birth to pockmarked
Whiplash scars
 
With its sprinkler system
Track marks and punctures
With its bones bleeding through
 
My skin is numbered
My skin is tagged
 
My skin is caged and on display
At the Museum of Natural History
 


 
Alton Sterling
 
 
I’m too big
To just disappear
I take up space
 
My lungs demand
Plenty of air
 
No, I’d rather you
Not mount me
Like a breaking bull
 
No, those bullets
You pump into my flesh
Are not pleasant
 
I do like my blood
Inside my body
 
I do like to
Breathe in all this
Magnificent air
 
Hey, what are
You doing
 
What are you
Doing to me
 
This is my life
You’re playing with
 
My life
 

 


Alton Sterling
 
 
Will a tree
Grow out
Of this hole
 
Will stars fall
Into its swirl
Form another galaxy
 
Of possibility
Will it capture
Each cry
 
Echo chamber
For the ages
Will it murmur
 
Like grass
Trampled with rages
Will a flock
 
Of seagulls fly out
Will light shine from it
Like a second sun
 
Will this hole
Hold all our pain
Will it lock in our hate
 
Will it spill
Over with a red sea
Of my blood
 
To show the world
What these cops
Did to me


 
Excuses, Excuses
 
 
Does the taxicab drive mean to pull off after you say you’re heading uptown to Harlem?
 
*
 
Does the taxicab driver know that you can’t really afford to get a car but a cab every now and then is in your budget?
 
*
 
Does the car dealer know that it took three years of savings just to put the down payment on the used model you drive out the dealership parking lot?
 
*
 
Do the police officers mean to pull you over at the traffic light even though you were not speeding?
 
*
 
Do the police officers mean to ask you for your drivers license and ask you to please step out the car?
 
*
 
Do the police officers mean to make believe they’re searching for something in your car, your trunk, the glove compartment?
 
*
 
Do the police officers mean to slam you up against the hood of the car?
 
*
 
Do the police officers mean to hog tie you at the side of the road, and call for backup to take turns trying to make nightsticks disappear in your skull?
 
*
 
Do the police officers mean to put you in a coma, plant a gun in your mouth, and when you come to, three days later, say you resisted arrest?
 
*
Do the television and newspaper reporters mean to take the police officers’ word for it and launch a media blitz campaign to paint you out to be some kind of criminal?
 
*
 
Does the chief of police mean to say those nasty things about you?
 
*
 
Does the mayor mean to back him up and take a couple of swipes at you himself?
 
*
 
Do the police officers mean to come visit you in the ICU to pull your IV out just in case you feel the urge to testify?
 
*
 
Does the preacher testify at your funeral?
 
*
 
Do CEOs of Big Business or multinationals of finance capital. Who manufacture Glocks and have a contract with the police department, send over a representative to help piece your mother back together?
 
*
 
Does the preacher send ushers around with baskets to catch your friends’ and family’s tears?
 
*
 
Do the news reporters report your death?
 
*
 
Do the chief of police and the mayor come to your funeral?
 
*
 
Do the police officers drop flowers in your head before they put you in the ground?
 
 
 
 

 
Oui Oui C’est La Vie
for Marc Oriol

The barbed wire fence passes through my blood
Evaporating my flesh split like confetti
I am watching this parade of violence
Like a silent movie in slow motion
The whites of my eyes are pendulous
My thighs rubber as the world tumbles
About me buildings colliding into clouds
Clouds spinning around like fat clumsy pigeons
A mad procession of guards with barbed wire smiles
This is the celebration of death
I’ve always longed for
Someone is tying my hands behind
My back another is holding me down
Another is sweeping my feet off the ground
The soldier pounding the stone on my back
Must think I always wanted to die
Like this


 



Hair! Hair!
 
I am seeking a certificate of live birth
For Donald Trumps’ hair—
 
A red rooster sloshed and flopped
Over a sloped forehead’s scrunched face;
 
A dead possum playing possum, propped up
Road kill on the windshield of his strained face— 
 
I am checking for its authenticity
Does it exist in the same time zone
 
As his head which functions as a
Hollow silo for his receding brain
 
I am seeking the purity
Of each strand of hair in pain—
 
Waxed, dyed, fried, wrung
Like a wet mop and hung and slung
 
Every which way devil may care—
Hair! Hair!
 
It may be a distraction
It may espouse brash rash reactions
 
From the pie hole of his smug fat fish face,
Blow hard words caught in the gullet
 
Of a mouth never on pause, whose fabrications
And aspersions are claws stuck in the bottom
 
Of a barrel full of Dixie Land flags
Waving desperately in the wind of defeat
 
Like charred ash flakes from a
Bombed out lung
 
But I am also seeking the legitimacy
Of the hair on his tongue


 
Ghostwriting Meek Mill Dissing Drake
 
 
I just wanna know
If marbles help you
Pronounce words
Correck

I just wanna know
How many gold teefuses
It take to chew
A Snickers bar
 
I just wanna know
Was that a Snickers
Bar—or Cecil the Lion’s
Last Will & Testicle
 
I just wanna know
If 1 & 1 make 2
 
I just wanna know
‘Cause counting
Was never my
Strong suit
 
Matter of fack
You ain’t wants no part
Of my Hannibal Lecter
White suit—
 
Lucky I rhyme wit’ this
Face mask, too—
Woulda done bit
Your taco meat tiddy
 
Spit it out like
Mase & P-Diddy
Like that 5 million
Ganked from Fiddy
 
I just wanna know
What the fux I’m
Talkin’ ‘bout
 
Sometimes my rhymes
Just wander about
Like Thelonious Monk
On stage dancing in a circle
 
I just wanna know
Why the sky is blue
 
I just wanna know
If you is To Wong Foo
 
I just wanna know
If your moms remember
Me—and why
She wanted to name you
FiFi
 
I just wanna know
Why your rhymes
Got Lyme Disease
 
Was that Versace Versace
Versace or a donkey sneeze
 
I just wanna know
If that vice grip head
Was squeezed to make
Lemon Jello—
 
Hello?

 

 
Tony Medina, two-time winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People (DeShawn Days and I and I, Bob Marley), is the author/editor of eighteen books for adults and young readers, the most recent of which are I and I, Bob Marley (2009), My Old Man Was Always on the Lam (2010), finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, Broke on Ice (2011), An Onion of Wars (2012), The President Looks Like Me & Other Poems (2013) and Broke Baroque (2013), finalist for the Julie Suk Book Award. He has received the Langston Hughes Society Award; the first African Voices Literary Award; and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his poem, “Broke Baroque”. Medina, whose poetry and prose appears in over 100 anthologies and literary journals, is the first Professor of Creative Writing at Howard University. His anthology, Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky, on police violence and brutalities perpetrated on people of color, was recently published by Jacar Press of North Carolina.