& closed curtains
enter MINSTREL MAN & GOD’s son.
on stage i mean
on the stage stands a black man // not totally black/
melanin stolen from the inside of a paint can.
he dances to tunes from ancestors not his own //nigga, that ain’t for you.//
ENTER MANIFEST DESTINY &
enter PARISHIONER, slick with GOD’s scent. & i said to them niggas that the lord is the lord is the lord & he is your salvation, the parishioner says, high on the holy spirit’s wine, & i said & i said & i said don’t make me teach you again.
i think/about that time/my mom/sent me/to the grocery store/to the Aldi’s/on the corner/of Denison & Pearl/armed to the teeth/with bags &/that EBT card/& i bought/some chocolate/because niggas/love chocolate/& i pulled up/like/to the checkout/& the white man/behind me said/should you really be buying that with food stamps?/& i looked/at him/& the cashier/looked/at me/& then/at him/& i said—
enter BLACK KID, wearing black hoodie.
it rains in cleveland on mondays but only on mondays as mondays are the days when black boys die. it happens, like clockwork—an arithmetic / gain /or/ function / a product / of post-racial america’s obsession with race.
enter BLACK MAN. cue POST-RACIAL AMERICA.
making my way downtown, walking fast, faces pass & s h o t s those shots those shots those shots sssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhoooooottttttttttttts those shots those shots those shots black boy black boy black boy black boy fall d o w n fall down fall down fall down those shots those shots those shots those shots those shots those shots black boy those shots ///
& that nigga dead.
end of play
Kevin Latimer is a poet and playwright from Cleveland, Ohio. He is a Best New Poet 2018 nominee, and his work has appeared in or is forthcoming from FEELINGS, TRACK//FOUR, After the Pause, DIALOGIST, and others.