C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

Killing With Kindness

By: Ralvell Rogers II


A lot had been said about myself

in this messed up society

when I was on temporary assignment

training with another black man.

He’s a much older cat than I (he’s fifty to be exact),

“But i know i don’t look it” he said

as if he gets that response all the time,

and then he told me about his management treating him dumb,

i mean as if he were dumb and ignorant.

i too

have felt this treatment

ever since i started working at sixteen,

but I always thought to myself,

Once i get older

and look older,

and grow a beard

and have a long career in some career,

they’ll give me my due respect

even though i been earned it,

but i think i thought wrong

because this much older cat

rubbed his beard

as he showed me how

to clean countertops and dishes

behind others,

and set up meeting rooms

and sort important mail

for others.

“But they treat me

like i am less than them

cuz they got a title or an acronym,

and i just smile

cuz i am not that kind of guy,

i just kill them with kindness.”

He didn’t know it,

that his actions may have been clairvoyant

to my-precognitive-self,

not because he’s dumb or ignorant

as they say we both are

at our respective ages,

but because he’s just another hard working brotha

trying to make a dolla out of fifteen cents

for a company that don’t really want a real brotha

to really be there

in the first real damn place.

He’s just living

as i am

black man

complaining about management

to the next black trainee,

killing with kindness.




Ralvell Rogers II is an ambitious storyteller and educator from Kansas City, Missouri, who focuses on realistic fiction and reflective and provoking poetry. His writing has been published and can be found in many (online) journals including River City Poetry, Heartland, Genre: Urban Arts, Rigorous, Flinthills Review, Black Artists' Club, Quivira (Emporia State University) and Tittynope Zine. Before graduating with his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, Creative Writing at Emporia State University, Rogers was the first student-recipient of the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2018. Currently, Ralvell lives in Arlington, Virginia.

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