in baltimore

Photo credit:  Baltimore-based photographer, Devin Allen

in baltimore
if you’re black
they’ll just
sprinkle some crack on you
and call it a day

call it legal
call it justice
and call an arrest

and then
when they’re taking
your black ass in
to the county jail
they’ll call the media
call the press

call the newspapers
so they can
call you crazy
call you guilty
and call you ghetto

what they won’t do
is call you a minor
call your parents

call the community
so we can call you innocent
and call for your
release

nah
the police won’t do that

in baltimore
if you’re black
they’ll just
sprinkle some crack on you
and call it a day

a full day’s pay
and tomorrow?

on to somebody else’s
child
and they’ll be calling it
good police
work

• First of four poems in honour of Black History month (February 2020)

Lamont Lilly is a political activist, former columnist, poet and people’s journalist. During the Movement for Black Lives, Lamont traveled the U.S. as full-time field staff and a national organizer. Much of his writing derives directly from the marginalized—from the streets of mass struggle, and the Black experience in the U.S. South. In 2016, he was the Workers World Party U.S. Vice-Presidential Candidate. E-mail him at: llilly1@eagles.nccu.edu Read other articles by Lamont.