SURVEILLANCE: The Public Examines Black Resilience and is Dissatisfied

If you watch enough footage   you grow
comfortable with a narrative:
the Black body will die
You begin to see it coming
certain as morning   You become footage
critic and note where zoom and panning would be helpful
to the story
You ask the screen why the Black
body doesn’t get up
These deaths are viewed repeatedly
You still question was it murder   The footage confuses
the Law with the Soldier in Active Combat or the Hit Man
The officer confuses his role
You watch again   All
shots are loud   Who else heard?
You think of God
in the seconds before the Black body falls
[forward or backward]   You sit in a moment
of atheism   You ask the screen where is the Black body’s god
as if it is missing   God is there demanding
that the Black body get up   Like you
it is disappointed
that the black body   too   is human


For 10 weeks, we will feature one poem per week from Surveillance, the new chapbook forthcoming from Writ Large Press. These poems by Ashaki M. Jackson explore police killings of Blacks captured on video and the public’s consumption of these videos. Previous poems: 1, 2

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