Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Waiting for Sunset"

This poem came out of the July 21, 2020 bonus fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It also fills the "Dark" square in my 6-1-20 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest.  This poem belongs to the series Monster House.

Warning: This poem obliquely references murderous police and intended consequences to same.


"Waiting for Sunset"


I found them by the window,
pressed against the glass like
two cats watching the same bird.

The bogeyman was all white hair
and skin like spilled milk, while
the lurking shadow was pure black --
an odd couple, but good friends.

"What's going on?" I wondered.

"We're waiting for sunset,"
the bogeyman explained.

"Okay?" I said, hardly
less baffled than before.

The bogeyman tilted his head
toward the lurking shadow
to show whose idea it was.

"We saw the news," he said.
"They're bold, in their way,
to murder in broad daylight,
in front of a crowd, on camera."

The lurking shadow hissed,
a sound like ashes stirring
in a firepit, black form rippling.

"Ah," I said. "You're not
the only monsters in
the world, I'm afraid."

"No, but we are among
the oldest," the bogeyman said,
"and they've been such bad boys."

"Sssunsset," the lurking shadow hissed.

"Don't wait up for us," the bogeyman said
as he pushed away from the window.

"I'll leave the porchlight off for you,"
I said, opening the door for them.

The bogeyman stepped out and
disappeared into a shaft of moonlight.

The lurking shadow flowed down
the porch steps into the waiting embrace
of the night, one shade among many.

"Good hunting," I whispered, and
went back in to turn on the news.

* * *

Notes:

Black lives matter to black people and cosmopolitans of other heritage. They don't matter to a majority of white Americans, which is why police are free to murder black people with impunity. Support the Black Lives Matter movement. Make your workplace better for black employees and customers.

(Some of these links are monstrous.)
Police routinely murder citizens in broad daylight, in front of a crowd, on camera. They know they won't be punished, and they have no morals, so they see no reason not to murder people who annoy them. This reveals America as a tyranny, a police state, rather than a healthy democracy. Displeasing the police is a summary death sentence. If you dislike this, you can take steps to defund the police. After all, if they work for citzens, then citizens can fire them; if citizens can't fire police, then America is an occupied nation and forceful resistance is justified to restore a decent society. Here are science-backed reforms. This manual explains how to fight police abuse in general.

My suggestions:

1) Institute an Office of External Affairs staffed by citizens and policevets to mediate conflicts between citizens and police. This office requires the power to fire police who fail to meet community standards of competence. Police absolutely must be accountable for their actions to the citizens they serve, or they are not police but state-sanctioned predators.

2) Since body cameras are overwhelmingly used against citizens, who cannot readily access the footage, and police are free to murder on camera anyway, body cameras should be banned as a worse than useless violation of privacy and attack on citizen safety. If people do not wish to ban them, then footage must be made freely available to citizens upon request per the Freedom of Information Act which forbids the government from secret chicanery.

3) Defunding the police is an excellent idea since they have been saddled with many things they are neither trained for nor competent at. Mental health emergencies should be answered by mental health professionals. Domestic disturbances should be handled by family dynamics professionals. Drug emergencies should be handled by substance abuse professionals. And so on. Such professionals should have training that allows them to handle violence safely without murdering anyone. These should all be funded out of the former police budget. Police should never be sent when a firetruck or ambulance has been requested, as this dissuades people from using other emergency services for fear they could be murdered or otherwise harmed.

4) Police departments must recruit from the local neighborhood and thus reflect its gender, racial, religious, etc. demographics. If the police do not look like the neighbors, then the police are an occupying force that must be expelled. Nothing about us without us!

5) Fix police training. Stop training police to be cowardly (e.g. the "I feared for my life" defense) and start training them to be heroic. Feature de-escalation and other problem-solving skills, not just violence. They are supposed to keep the peace, not break it. This includes estimating what percentage of time officers spend on which types of calls, then tailoring the training so they spend the most class time on the most frequent calls.

Or we could just let the friendly neighborhood monsters eat them. That works too. I've been to Detroit. This is a thing that probably happens.
Tags: activism, cyberfunded creativity, ethnic studies, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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