Calling it a day

Calling it a day

Gil Scott Heron was right when he wrote
that the revolution will not be televised

So, my friends, here it goes:

I say no to the word on the street
that unless you place it in a screen
you will miss it
that it never happened

Gil Scott Heron was right when he wrote
the revolution does not go better with Coke
that it won’t tell you what to do about the tiger in your tank
or the giant in your toilet bowl
how it won’t tell you what you can do with your iPhone
whether you should Uber
dress up in drag
push your legislature for a gender neutral bathroom

He simply said it would be live
that is, not some feed on CNN
no Reddit room.

Again, my friends, I am tendering my resignation:

You won’t find me looking at anything ‘breaking’
no more alerts
look for me watching rain fall at high latitudes
in midwinter
counting automated supermarket checkouts
classrooms with software programs rather than teachers
conservatives blissfully, blatantly lying
as liberals enable by conveniently forgetting.

You won’t find me looking at things far away
when what is inside or beside screams
shouts
a fieldworker watching every last cent
of what she makes
on somebody’s take
applied to a tab
a summit of debt
at the company store where the owner says
surrender yourself to impulse
and leave the complicated, fretful matters to us.

My friends,
please don’t listen any longer for me to talk about myself
show you photos of my daughter
tell you what my vacation was last summer
or gauge my reaction to the latest spate
of mass American shooting deaths

Don’t wait for me to log my dissent,
assent or disapproval
better yet, don’t wait for me to vent my praise
over anguished plaints of our collective guilt
because it really doesn’t matter with me now
not in any sense that I’ve been prepared for
by a dauntless belief in our inexorable greatness
divine patrimony

For you see
I am in a beyond America phase
inured to the promises of Washington, Winthrop
Reagan
what I see instead is how God’s vernacular promise to us
is decency’s auto da fe
that’s the new state of play
whiteness(?) all the way-

Please, don’t come looking for me
for I have no brand, no logo
no calling card, business card
no cookie or signature
no byline in some seldom read magazine
trying to bait its clicks.

Please,
I just don’t have a name
save the one my parents gave
(and my intimates have permission to use)

Unless you are the NSA
you won’t find me
I’ve called it a day.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

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Laughing at the Trickster God

Laughing at the Trickster God

-for the daughter of Diamond Reynolds one year later

If what actually distinguishes each of us today
is not our personal merit, achievement
even our education;
if it is not the languages that we speak
but the mark,
the very design of our birth

That is,
what purportedly we are
to others
and not what we believe
ourselves to be

That is,
our color not our collar
our gender not our retainer
not even our gender and our color
in a one-two killer crossover

That is,
not a set of right souls
in the wrong bodies
or wrong souls in right bodies

Then how is it that any of us are any more sure
than those little children in Clarendon County
or Harlem
who held Dr. Kenneth Clark’s dolls
and identified with the other
rather than what they were

How many of us might like to be likened to
or follow in train of
a four year old girl who,
with a Glock pointed at her,
was capable of reassuring her mother:

Mother, it will be alright

What is merit of life if not that-
What is life making if not holding
a Chai
or a drum
a chair suspended above our shoulders

Or laughing at the trickster God
who walks between us
forever changing the side of the hat
that we see-

Diamond Reynolds, your daughter
this is what she taught me.

Jeremy Nathan Marks