“God Help Us”

by Jason Arment

(“God Help Us” mobile version)

When I joined the service I reckoned
killing was a thing for my youth
after that it was all gravy & maybe
even more than that with a wife & kid
& whatever else would happen in the Jetson
like future without black people being
slaughtered by the police or Mexicans
called rapists & lazy or whatever else
people had to tell themselves to sleep
at night; I just never understood
why have a voice if you can’t say
what you want & why have a heart
full of fire if you can’t find the right
hill to die on

Most folk never even had salad days
though they are a thing of tears & blood
& all the stuff you never wanted
to unpack in an airport or at the behest
of anyone, much less an authority figure
like a parent or teacher or cop
& god help you if you’re black
or disabled, or out of your neighborhood
or mind, & God help us if we ever get to the point
of event horizon & decide to shoot back