Thursday, October 20, 2011

Trash Man

I never wanted to be a police officer when I was kid.

I wasn’t taught to view the men in blue as guardians
or upstanding citizens hatched to serve and protect.
They’re just humans like the homeless.

I was advised to know my civil liberties, memorize
The Constitution and Bill of Rights, befriend
drunken lawyers.

I was informed of shady dealings, planted evidence.

My dad said, “Son, never say a word to anyone
without an attorney present. Recognize unjust
happenings and the prospect of disaster.”

However, my teachers said the opposite.
They said that the police were our friends.

The black kids’ eyes bloomed dark, terrified.
The Hispanic kids whispered immigration hymns.

Others laughed while the rest cried.

I didn’t have a badge or handcuffs growing up.
No Billy club to flog my brother with or
mace helpless, future taxpayers in their
ignorant, unaware faces.

I never wanted to have the legality to kill.
I wanted to be the garbage man.


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