Cordon Negro


“I drink champagne early in the morning
instead of leaving my house
with an M16 and nowhere to go.
I’m dying twice as fast
as any other American
between eighteen and thirty-five
This disturbs me,
but I try not to show it in public.

Each morning I open my eyes is a miracle.
The blessing of opening them
is temporary on any given day
I could be taken out.
I could go off.
I could forget to be careful.
Even my brothers, hunted, hunt me.
I am the only one who values my life
and sometimes I don’t give a damn.
My love life can kill me.
I’m faced daily with choosing violence
or a demeanor that saves every other life
but my own.

I won’t cross-over.
It’s time someone else came to me
not to patronize me physically,
sexually or humorously.
I’m sick of being an endangered species,
sick of being a goddamn statistic.
So what are my choices?
I could leave with no intention

of coming home tonight

I could go crazy downtown
and raise hell on a rooftop with my rifle.
I could live for a brief moment
on the six o’clock news,
or I can masquerade another day
through the corridors of commerce
and American dreams.

I’m dying twice as fast
as any other American.
So I pour myself a glass of champagne,
I cut it with a drop of orange juice.
After I swallow my liquid valium.
my private celebration
for being alive this morning,
I leave my shelter.
I guard my life with no apologies.
My concerns are small
and personal.”

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