Kevin Latimer

& closed curtains

act one

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 &

 

act two

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.

 

act three

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—

 

act four

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.

 

act five

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.