This poem was written by Heal the Streets fellow, Tele'jon Quinn, for the Heal the Streets Graduation. This year the fellows researched the issue of racial profiling. You can download a copy of their report on our website. Please note the poem has some "adult" language.
Metal Noose by Tele'jon Quinn
I hear babies crying cuz older brothers are dying, young mothers are askin why and why and...
Why was that lead and metal pulled out of its holster like the devil was summoned by a soldier? These youngstas are pleading for them not to shoot but they hear it as battle cries. The ones that’s most afraid are the ones losing their lives but wait, I guess that’s not completely true cuz the scariest mothafuckas are the ones with the power to shoot, with the badges to shoot, and people of color give them the desire to shoot im through.
I can still see the year old blood stains swimming in pools of tears on the concrete and bart stations, cuz, the trigger fingers have no patience, wasn’t a problem of miscommunication, but a master plan to prevent liberation, cant you see the relation? Officers are hangin teens of color by trees of oppression, that leaves leafs of depression, and drops seeds of repression, and some fail to see the connection but. This shit aint new. This the same shit we went through a hundred years ago.
And I'm through with the underground but not so under anymore baby KKKlan using their institutional power to hang my people by nooses, made up of metal, and constructed by quick trigger fingers. Over the years blood and murder has been a language they speak fluent, leaving the rest of our tongues in confusion, precious and meaningful lives were losing, lives that depended on those lost are now ruined, all because of these stainless steel nooses. And I know that this shit has been going on for so long that, the pain has got you paralyzed, you’ve gotten used to the lies, no loner askin why, no more tears for you to cry, witnessing these explosive metal nooses hang your people has gotten you desensitized to the crime but. Ima ask you anyway.
Can you feel it? Can you feel a twisted bullet burning a hole of oppression deep into a young man’s chest? Can you feel his heart shaking and pounding until, it suddenly stops? Can you feel the concrete collide with his mother’s knees next to the bloody tree? Can you, feel that officers pride in thinking he did something heroic? Can you sense it? Can you sense the regret in that young man’s bullet hole for even stepping outside of his house? Can you sense in that mother’s shattered heart her guilt in even giving birth to such a beautiful, but now lifeless child? Can you sense your senses when thinking of my poetic sentences enough to stop accepting this and make a difference?
Can you stop accepting these institutions that are designed to help, but mostly help themselves, stop accepting these jails, that’s drawing parallels with hell, dyin in cages they call cells, I hear the experience is surreal, and to propel, the conversation further, why the hell are the jails packed!? But the real criminals are out patrolling the streets?
So now I ask, can you stop it? Can you project your voice so that your words slap the clogged eardrums of every officer out there so they think twice, before ever pulling another trigger? Can you save the lives of unborn black beauties from a semi-automatic solid black hand noose that seems to justify abortions? Can you make a difference? Can you accept other’s differences? Can you treat people equally?
Can you liberate? Can you liberate the young adults out there and make them aware of the oppression they face? Liberate the parents and provide them with the knowledge and tools to keep their kids safe. Can you? Will you? Im doing my part, cuz im tired of losing. To make a difference, it’s your option to choose it, to stop the hanging of lead, metal, and stainless steel nooses.
Tele'jon Quinn is a 16 year old Oakland resident who attends Metwest High School.