Poems and Texts

Poem from the chapbook LINCOLN by Pamela Sneed


There was something about one of the women who spoke
after the Zimmerman verdict/he was freed
the state attorney with her hair in a Florida/Texas type upswing
with sassy eyes and that smirk that made me see George Jeb
back room deals, handshakes, disguised voices, walks on the ranch
nothing that will ever go on record
a voice whispering we’re gonna get this country back from the nigras
Something in the way she smirked looked like a high five
and fist bump to George Jeb and the rest
Behind her I could see that NRA fanatic Clint Eastwood talking
to and empty chair pretending it was President Obama
I could see handshakes and winks between Sarah Palin and Arnold
saying we’re gonna get this country back from the nigras
On another continent a long time ago Clarence Thomas
would have been necklaced
and George Zimmerman is lucky to have never seen jail time
because he might have gotten the Jeffrey Dahmer treatment
found in a broom closet
Condoleeza is not an achievement
she’s just a girl forever eager to please her white father
would sell anything for that stamped approval
Watching her come out and speak at the Republican National Convention
was like watching Philadelphia’s first Black Mayor
drop a bomb on a family of screaming Black people
babies set fire
drowning in Katrina while she smiled that American smile
and the children were drowning
they couldn’t swim

You have to understand Trayvon was never a child
walking to and from the grocery store buying skittles and an icetea
hardly a menu for crime
he was already a fugitive with a warrant for his arrest dating back 450 years
ever since he and his descendants made the middle passage
stood on an auction block
deemed some else’s property George Zimmerman echoing bounty hunters
and lynch mobs of eons past they always get away but not this one
from this day forward I promise to never go anywhere
talking about inhumanity and human rights violations
to let my eyes gleam with gore
talking about clitoris removal
until we talk about here …
what’s been destroyed cut off maimed

Pamela Sneed

Pamela Sneed is a New York-based poet, writer, performer and emerging visual artist. She is author of Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery, KONG and Other Works and a chaplet, “Gift” by Belladonna. She has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Time Out, BOMB, VIBE, and on the cover of New York Magazine. She has appeared in Art Forum, The Huffington Post and Hyperallergic. In 2017, she was a Visiting Critic at Yale and Columbia University. She is a Visiting Professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts for 2017/18. She is online faculty at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute teaching Human Rights and Writing Art and has also been a Visiting Artist at SAIC in the MFA summer low-res program for 3 consecutive years. She has performed at the Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Poetry Project, NYU and Pratt Universities, Smack Mellon Gallery, The High Line, Performa, Danspace, The Bessies, Performance Space, Joe’s Pub, The Public Theater, SMFA, BRIC and was an artist- in- residence at Pratt University, Denniston Hill and Poet-Linc, Lincoln Center Education. She has toured internationally. She directed a final showcase at Lincoln Center Atrium. Her collage work appeared in Avram Finklestein’s FOUND at The Leslie Lohman Museum in 2017. She has created cover collage work for an upcoming Issue of Sinister Wisdom, (2018) Legacies of Resistance, “Dump Trump.” She has received a Monica Hand, July 2018 scholarship for the Fine Arts Workshop in Provincetown. Her work is widely anthologized and appears in Nikki Giovanni’s, “The 100 Best African American Poems.” Her short story book Sweet Dreams was published by Belladonna in April 2018. Visit http://www.belladonnaseries.org/sweet-dreams/

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