lisa shatzky Reading

We’re so pleased to share a video of lisa shatzky reading her newest poem Beautiful Black Man, a poem to the memory of George Floyd. lisa shatzky’s newest book of poetry A Thousand Ways to Kiss the Earth will be launching this October, and is a book of poetry that addresses current events and the way they have changed our ways of life.

Beautiful Black Man  

As I was writing words,
another black man 
was being murdered
by another police officer 
knee on neck
hands in pockets
poised and callous and aware
of everyone watching
and still no care
for the man on the ground
begging for his breath.
As I was lamenting about inconveniences
in the time of world pandemic
another black man became the prize 
of a trophy hunter disguised 
as cop
knee on neck
hands in pocket
eight minutes or so
for the killing of breath.
To what G-d do they pray,  those camouflaged  
as officers of the law,
and where do they hang the bodies
to announce their prestige
their dominance
over yet another gentle giant? 

I don’t know you sir, man on the ground,
but had you lived 
and told me all your stories
please know that I know 
I would still  know nothing
about what it meant to be you
walking in the world. 
But I do know this:
I heard you. 
When you called out to your mother
every mother around the world heard you.
The time for being quiet and polite has come and gone.
Voices are needed,
voices like sirens
like screams
voices like weapons
breaking through
and breaking down
so something new
can finally happen.
Can you hear us now, 
beautiful black man on the ground.  
You can’t breathe
and nor can we,
we who stand on the soil
where the blood of Black people
and Indigenous people 
have been seeping into the water table for years  
and we have been drinking this water for too long 
and it is making us crazy
and making us sick.

Knee on neck
hands in pocket
we are screaming as you once screamed,
the house is on fire
in more ways than one,
the earth is suffocating and the animals too
and we can not stand by 
and whisper please
while we are being made to disappear.

How long will our voices
stay strong,
I hear you ask,
beautiful black man on the ground.

For as long as it takes
to bring all the colours back 
into the world.

How long will that be,
you ask again.

For as long as the bloodshed
continues to stain
the morning sun. 
 

 
lisa shatzky, June 2020
                for George Floyd

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