Concealed Weapons

By Yvonne T. Gilmore

Concealed Weapons
By Yvonne T. Gilmore

For your safety keep your hands up
Remove all platitudes from the top of your head
carry your reserve beginnings
When our skies fall, you will need something to catch them?

Post historic innocence stares expectantly at the think tank of accord
Ignore the rise of the romanticized masses
See art for art’s sake
In the place between Columbine and Newtown
Between Goree Island and Boston
Between teen spirit and the upper room
where we are more than our relations
we are more than our relations?

Riots of silence burn bridges where no water remains
cue the music on three
gifted minds kneel at the altar of autonomy
waste in plains of plenty
can’t see the equity of Resurrection City refinanced by scholars for hire
no exit sign at the borderline
Summa cum laude hides his canons in the alley?

An opera singer occupies the corner of 79th and Stony Island
choirs have been issued grand invitations to vacate sanctuaries
dance instructors in flight re-route brute stages
The convocation of corners next to liquor stores
churches, police stations, Macy’s and Starbucks, libraries and school halls
share foreboding witness of a historic disturbance in the neighborhood
Primordial, unfiltered, de-segregated, un-caffeinated, gracious, human breathing
Has been hit by amnesia’s spear?

Come bemoan the perils of breathlessness after hours
the hyper-ventilation of faint and shallow breath
come help us re-learn the social cues of breathing
disclose the forms that breath can take
When a clock is always the backdrop of our art-scape
When we sell an elaborate selfie every month
When we are teen earthquake, turned woman, turned provincial reporter,
turned equatorial kite shifting media mogul, turned market force,
we wonder if our name is Esther or Oprah or Mary

Our fear sounds like teen spirit
conflates the ethics of justice with an ethics of safety
because “boys in blue” and boys that rock clothes that do not fit their form
are both an emblem of force and neither is a portrait of community
we are equally desperate and equally ill equipped
to accompany the uncertainty of their breath
we long for y/our brave balance?

With fragile, breathless power
and hyper punctuation
and beauty as real as it is concealed
and grief as casual as a news cycle
and a disinherited boy jesus
we too sing America with baited breath?

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