"Police Brutality from the Perspective of a Baton"
by Kofi Dadzie (Westborough High School | Third Eye Open Mic Host | Boston
I orchestrate brutality but I never wanted to compose this symphony.
We batons fell into the role masterfully tho.
Blue Beethovens adorned in badges use us to keep to beat on black notes
the syncopation of their screams is always the hardest to hear as it ends.
Voices crescendo in agony as we direct the masterpiece.
We helped create a piece once.
We titled it Rodney.
Reduced his life to 8 minutes of mutilation
But that song got old right quick.
So we find new symphony halls wherever bars keep black notes in place.
It’s hard to be a conductor for this selection when they twirl us like color guard on parade eager and willing to direct the song.
See we batons the color of midnight turn black bodies into battered heaps.
Now ain’t that black on black crime?
Are we just an officer's token black friend?
Would he put us down the minute we looked threatening too?
We do our best to quell the rhythm of rebellion.
We put rests on the voices of colored women so we can play the same tired tune over & over again.
They never seem to get a solo, only seen as supplement to a black man’s medley.
The audience doesn't seem to like this piece anymore.
America doesn’t seem to like peace anymore.
Black folk never wanted to be in admittance.
Never even purchase tickets.
But we've been instrumental in its creation.
Unplugged from society, all we wanted to do was make music.
We never expected the dissonance of black instruments to create the best melody.
Yet keeping time on torture is something of a classical arrangement for us.
Like letting bodies hang in the wind like high notes
Like massacre is musical.
Because the list of compositions is quite extensive
Our tune tormented Tanisha Anderson
Serenaded Sean Bell into eternal slumber
And our composition of Eric Garner was simply breathtaking.
Because what’s a baton without an officer?
Whats a conductor’s wand without a maestro?
What is America without bloodshed?
What is a black body besides brutality composed by the boys in blue?
So not for nothing we have turn murder into an artificial art form,
Have masterminded the maiming of a people.
See he who holds my handle wishes I were a whip
Misses the sound of its crack and decided to make it into music instead.
But who am I to judge when I am cut from the same wood
that decorated the whips handle.
We are tired of making songs out of suffering.
Tired of turning the altercations between my maestro and black folk
into twisted duets
Remove me from my master's hand
before the body count rises like chord progression
I pray the arrangement will see a finale soon, but for now the show must go on
America always wants an encore.