Remix Your Life poet Jaylyn Burns grew up in Oakland, and she imagines a conflict between young people and police officers, from the perspective of one of the city’s parks.
I’ve Heard This Argument 1,000 Times
I’m big, I’m full of opportunity,
I have something that attracts danger.
It’s Friday morning and the wind is mildly blowing
and birds are chirping in all of my trees,
dogs barking across my yard at each other.
There are children and parents around playing and laughing.
It feels so good to see days like this.
A few hours go by and all of the friendly people are gone.
These young guys in black who meet here every day
are sitting on one of my benches conversing
about how they hate the pigs.
I can feel something bad coming,
the inside of my heart
where their sitting is aching.
I’m hoping and waiting for them to leave
but more young men show up.
These men are in all blue
and now I sense more tension than ever.
They start arguing about race and how blacks don’t belong here, I’ve heard this argument a thousand times.
Someone throws a punch
and with wind blowing extremely hard
as they fight, hitting each other repeatedly
in the face bloods racing down one young man’s face
and I know what’s going to happen next.
This is the worst part of my nights,
it seems to never stop.
One of the guys in blue pulls out a gun from behind his back and shoots two of the three men in black.
They all scatter and the wind suddenly stops blowing and time has stopped.
These two young men are in my heart
bleeding their lives and souls out.
No one comes to help and their last breaths were taken
after fighting over the rights of black people.
The same officers kick the bodies and leave them there
for this black van to come pick them up.
Now the winds whistle is soothing.
I have my right hand tree clean the blood with his leaves.
The next morning things are abnormal again and people are happy,
probably unknowing of the fact that their standing in the same place number 203 and 204 died.
They were and will forever stay in my heart but I want to know will this ever end?