Cleveland Championship?

The power to kill compounds the need to kill.

— “Weapon”, Judith Wright, Peace Prayers: Meditations, Affirmations, Invocations, Poems, and Prayers for Peace, Harper San Francisco Staff, Carrie Leadingham et al

LeBron shot 38 times,
Scored 44, needing 11
More shots to out shoot
One Cleveland pig; 107
More to out shoot the
Pig’s shoot-around, firing
Squad, fearing-for-their-
Lives, ‘Flash Brothers—’
Red-hot muzzles blazing,
Pop-pop popcorn cordite,
Awful thud-thud-thud-thud-
Thud of their bullets burrowing,
Pock marking thin night skin of
The old baby blue Malibu Malissa
Williams’ and Timothy Russell’s
Disfigured faces and heads lay,
Blooming crimson on the Chevy’s
Steering wheel and dashboard

Cleveland’s ‘Flash Brothers,’
Cavalier killers of Black folk,
Out shot Sean Bell’s, Amadou
Diallo’s Big Apple shooters,
Out shot Mike Brown’s murderer
Walter Scott’s South Carolina
Killer, out shot ol’ Thronberry,
‘Riders’ from ‘Tha Town,’ out
Shot Oaktown shooters of Gary
King, Melvin Black, Charles
Briscoe, Casper Banjo, but no
Championship for Cleveland

Two seconds on the clock
Cleveland’s ‘Flash Brothers,’
Cavalier killers of Black folk,
Shoot a 12-year-old boy, tackle
His 14-year-old sister, threaten
His mom with arrest; flagrantly
Fouling out of the human race—
Like Philly pigs bombing, barbequing
11 MOVE children and adults,
Razing 60 homes, no championship
For Cleveland

So, why am I so slow to share bliss
Blanketing ‘Tha Town’ like morning
Fog? Oaktown earned it ol’ fashioned
Ways: Oscar Grant, Occupy Oakland,
‘General Strike’ street heat, port shut-
Downs ‘gainst apartheid states near/far!

So, why am I so conflicted, digging
Young cats, Ali-less, Russell-less,
Kareem-less, Brown-less, Coltrane-
Like, working craft, remaining humble?

Is it because of the ‘bigs,’
Backing us down, running set plays,
Serial wars, making us settle— low
Percentage shots every two/four years?

Is it because of the ‘bigs,’
Swatting Black lives away through thin blue
Lines, high fructose corn syrup food deserts,
Chicken colonies of poverty and obesity?

Is it because of the ‘bigs—’
Grubb, Coldwell, Wells Fargo banksters,
Remax Red Oak, and their sneering FOR
SALE/SOLD signs, dominating down low?

Is it because of the ‘bigs—’
Boarding up houses, shuttering schools,
Libraries, parks, rec centers and erecting
Ever grander play palaces to themselves?

Is it because of the ‘bigs’
Off-shoring jobs and subbing
Arrogant settlers, upturned noses, barking
Dogs, for Caterpillar, Peterbilt, Postal, GM,
Highland Hospital, Naval Shipyard, starters?

Is it because of the ‘bigs’
Bounce passes to haters of Blacks,
FOX-box trolls, disguised as fans
Standing ‘their’ ground, 2nd place
‘Winners’ with the1%!
Overseer tones to 55-inch screens,
Commanding Black bodies: “cut,”
“Stop dribbling,” “drive,” “shoot,”
“Come out aggressive,” “go strong
To the hole,” “play hurt,” don’t holler
“I can’t breathe,” “Hands up, don’t
Shoot,” don’t “bulk up like Hulk
Hogan,” “run through shots,” don’t
Take off running, make “eye contact,”
Or resist ‘arrest’ from fetal positions—
500lbs of knees in your back…

Is it because of the ‘bigs’
Finding ways to win, sweeping stats mattering
Most—triple-doubles, Dr. King drew up ‘67—
No matter who hoists trophies, lines parades as
Kings, for a day?

Former forklift driver/warehouse worker/janitor, Raymond Nat Turner is a NYC poet; BAR's Poet-in-Residence; and founder/co-leader of the jazz-poetry ensemble UpSurge!NYC. Read other articles by Raymond Nat, or visit Raymond Nat's website.