SURVEILLANCE: The Speaker, Who is Black, Interjects the Black Conflict

We say King Watcher please guide us
It opens its mouth and makes no sound   Moves
its godly eye in our direction and does not blink
We expect it to provide safety
with the certainty of the sun  We praise
it for keeping us alive  We want eternity
like King Watcher who has never known death
We assume it has known pain  We do not question
if it finds us undesirable  We are
made in its image  We are who we want to be
We show King Watcher where it hurts
and ask for repair  We call on that god
in need in ache  We ask for something in return
We beg with offerings—with bodies
bleeding on all altars  We ask if it has ever bled
We ask for explanations  We get
no comfort  We take
its silence as a response
We make the silence remarkable
Give it a language  Call it real
We want it to be disturbed like a crumpled body
We call for its retaliation because we want retaliation
We want to be protected to belong to the king
and to not long  We want its big eye to see us
and say mine and to answer and to be generous with consolation
We want more than surveillance


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: 1234, 5

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