I haven’t really felt a whole lot like writing these days, which has made producing my weekly poem a bit of a challenge. Last week, just when I had decided to give up on the possibility of posting anything, a little snippet of verse popped into my head– a grook, in fact. And a title– “The Color of Silence.” And yet more, an image to accompany it, which I had quite a good time putting down on paper. Yes! I did it! I thought, with great satisfaction. Done!
I was just about to post the poem, and then the non-indictment of Darren Wilson happened. As I type this, and create my link, I am thinking, how many people in this country even know who Darren Wilson is? Who would have recognized his name a month ago? And who will recognize it a month from now? (To be honest, I’m not sure if I even will. I keep thinking his name is Darryl, which is what I typed first when I was drafting this post.)
Well, he is the police officer from Ferguson, Missouri, who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, this past August. Protests– or riots, depending on who you talk to– ensued. People were arrested. Tear gas was deployed. Meanwhile, much of the world– including the worlds of many people I am nominally “friends” with on Facebook, continued on. Meals were enjoyed. Exotic cities were visited. Ice buckets were dumped. YouTube was watched. Television too.
The use of passive voice is intentional.
No one contests the fact that Darren Wilson shot and killed young Mike Brown. No one disputes the fact that Mike Brown was unarmed. Basically, what we know is: shit happened. This is our country, and we have nothing to do with it. Shit, simply, happens.
But isn’t it strange that in the end, we will so easily forget the name of the person who actually killed Michael Brown? Isn’t it strange that we are more likely to forget his name more easily than the forgettable name of Michael Brown himself?
All this makes it strange for me to now post the poem that I wrote last week, but the longer I wait the more apropos it seems to be. Here it is:
If you open your mouth wide
And nothing comes out,
You’ve likely got nothing
Worth talking about.
That is how I was feeling last week, and how I (mostly) continue to feel this week. But the events in Ferguson have compelled me to speak, even if I’m not sure if I have anything worth saying.