Always, they begin
as units of prayer
in sleep
watery images
then I wake
seeing them
crowded together
in a headline
Officers in Bronx Fire 41 Shots,
And an Unarmed Man Is Killed
this lacerated tongue
thirsts to remember
the names of all the faces
hidden behind the barrel of a gun
loaded blasted
into national memory
becoming caesuras.
Each name is
a body craving
These eyes shutter
a different script
playing out behind their lids.
When I wake tomorrow
Let there be a riot of birds
outside my window
Let there be crows
flying South in horseshoe formation
Let there be Peruvian musicians
with their wooden flutes
& African drummers
& children double-dutching
over liberated firehydrants
Let there be Nina Simone’s
“Mississippi Goddamn” remixed
Let these words serve
a different master/narrative
Let sound shoot outside this mouth
echoing in every
walk home
dark alley
May this poem
lodge inside your breast.
Abdul Ali, “Holy” from Trouble Sleeping. Copyright © 2015 by Abdul Ali.  Reprinted by permission of New Issues Press.

Source: Trouble Sleeping(New Issues Press, 2015)

Abdul Ali

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