Dr. Faizan Syed offers another poignant reminder of the police problem we have.

Self-Arrest

 They say the world is burning. When
 they see us, don't run. Fly. They want us
 to turn a blind eye followed by our other 
 cheek. They tell us we don't deserve to be 
 saved. As if that explains everything.
 They spill the words easily, like blood:
 Raise your hands where we can see them.
 Where, allegedly, did the bloodstains fade?
 For every gunshot there's another excuse.
 For every crime, a suspect. For every sin
 another sin must be committed, or else
 how can we call it justice? Fair is fair. Lay
 your body on the ground face-down, kid.
 Who are you tonight? You're faceless
 under the knee of self-proclaimed angels
 whose mother tongue is violence. Your
 bruises just as blue as midnight, just as black.
  
 They say you have the right to remain silent. 
 Who exactly, then, holds the wrong?
 Nations glance askance, crowds divided
 like so many Red Seas. Yet no one passes
 through the line of fire. Because after
 all, anything you say can & will be used 
 against you in court. So when 
 your dream wakes up in Riker's 
 Island, you can thank yourself. 
 They said the prisons are hemorrhaging money
 & the spilled oil rises where tornadoes dance
 as droughts embrace our need. They said
 world hunger is sated by blood. Shoot those guns
 out of the terrorists' hands and hallelujah, we're 
 saved. But don't be a hero
 unless you're invincible, 
 or ready to give up all
 those years you couldn’t 
 see yourself inside
 anyways. File a plea
 of "lost." So many feathers
 lay scattered across the floor.
 You've been collecting them
 one by one. You're Icarus.
 You're Hawkgirl. You're
 as blind as Daredevil, your
 faith just as strong. Pray
 for the rest of us now.
 For when we prove 
 them all 
 dead wrong. 

©Faizan Syed – 2021

*****

Faizan Syed, MD is a writer, musician, and psychiatrist based in Queens, NY and is a member of the Queens Poetic Alchemy Collective. He was awarded the Folger Adams Jr. Prize for 1st place in Poetry and the Graduating Poet’s Award from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been featured on Humans of New York. Faizan’s work has appeared in Montage Literary Arts Journal, Newtown Literary, Cosmonauts Ave, & Empty Mirror. Poems he’s written in collaboration with Matthew DeMarco have been published in Jet Fuel Review, Dogbird Journal, and “They Said,” an anthology of collaborative writing from Black Lawrence Press. One can find him on Instagram @docfaizan or on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/docfaizan.

*****

For the first 100 days of the Biden administration, this website will feature a new poem of What’s Next!? These pieces can be calls to action, calls to attention, or calls to anger. They will light the way and guide the fight. They will get us moving and keep our momentum. They will be filled with hope, with anger, with sorrow. They will get us into good trouble and point out the trouble we need to stop. They will be polished gems, or rough-cut drafts of rage, or in-process pieces searching for peace. They may be haiku or tanka, limericks or lyrics, verses free or fettered.

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Read, follow, share, submit, live, love, spread light! Don’t forget to use #100Days100Poems !

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