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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

The City Smells Like a Mint and Band-aids; Twine Threats

By: Landon Smith

The City Smells Like a Mint and Band-aids

The soil has cried for so long

that we can feel it in our bones when it’s about to rain-

The cracks in my bones seem to have molded my hands into fists my great grandfather was

rigamortised into atop red grass puddles.

Fistfights on a playground nobody else sees as a game but the bully -

I have formed fists for survival.

Had a nightmare about lumber in my face and wet leather on my back.

Woke up in a cold sweat

with my fist clenched

around a trauma someone passed on to me.

Smoking to ease aches lately.

Indica clouds can’t mask the void

of the stories I was not told but still feel in a cold sweat.

Tired of the aches;

my lower back does not feel lighter

nor has my bone been

healed from yellow words painted on a street with a redline paved into it.

I do not settle for symbolic covering when the core is still infected and diseased

with allyship fatigue misnomers bred feeding performativism and empty vessels

clamoring for return -

You will look at this blood for as long as I have to bleed,

you have to see

Forfeiture of your assets is part of penance for seizure –

Did you not know?

Imagine if you had to bleed for this long, too.

A white wall gathering more attention than the pile of black death they are said to be protecting;

Constantly in cold sweats

Looking into mirrors to mend culturally promoted stab wounds

before they turn to dull aches promoted by neoliberal destruction of sanctity

Masquerading in a suit with shells underneath -

Every Oval Office resident is a war criminal.

Destabilization carved into pine and stained into white couches

smelling like burned fuses

overburdened by corruption since conception

So disconnected trying to find meaning in a shadow.

Breath in a bullet.

Meaning in a microphone

broadcast to an empty room of empty souls

hovering around a playground nobody else sees as a playground

except the bullies in back rooms and leather seats smelling like vapid offerings for a

dollar donation

Buried on a bed of upturned flag pins.

Maybe the yellow paint will sear asphalt long enough to watch the eulogy

following swearing in of a new 6-3 majority atop

Dred Scott bones and seals of objectivity falsification.

Gavels beating color into submission.

Noisemaker on a Ruby Bridges strut sitting in high chairs now.

Tantrums yelled into addendums now;

needles piecing slowly.

More quietly now.

Silicon Valley surgically implanted colonization as the

American way

Nooses tied into eviction notices

printed colorless to mask the mark left on a neck

to be criminalized for sidewalk pillow placement.

Yellow paint purchased by a house flipper

turning lives upside down to paint over.

Performance art.

Can hear politician lies clearer when amplified from Blue union pockets.

Badge must echo the deception broadcast in recycled tones.

I’m still waking up in cold sweats.

Still smelling red grass puddles.

Watching soaked-in stains be painted over with performance art.

Twine Threats

Twine threats meant to evoke terror

in a population no longer willing to play by rules

written by tendrils and venom.

Fear works best when a response is to back down

which is why most bullies on a schoolyard fold when punched in the mouth;

every script has its scribe.

Every marionette has a hand attached and falls lifeless

when strings are severed

with steel spines and

teeth sharpened by twine threats and

glistening in the light of a flame

feeding a boiling point.

They never accounted for the overflow.

A coward’s favorite tools is manipulation

followed by the institution of fear

as a secondary mechanism if the plan results in teeth.

There is no rope large enough

to pull the purpose from the historically shoe marked.

Shaking hands hide behind mobs and blind threats

masquerading for protection of stolen land.

Twine threats recycling shouts to ears resting on bodies attuned to the same playlist.

There is no mortality in a revolution

backed by steel spines

and absence of fear -

immortality written in hearts beating to messages

immune to the venom written by scales

shaking behind pale tendrils

in cufflinks.


Landon Smith (he/him) lives in Oakland, CA and sharpens his skills as part of the Patrice Lumumba Writer's Group based out of the East Side Arts Alliance in Oakland. He was born in a journal and lives in poetic meditation, processing the world through poetry. He is the son of a music artist and an educator, brother to a cornucopia, and a servant of social justice. Real poetry is a documentary, unconcerned with clout and accolades. Real poetry is concerned with impact, and that is Landon's goal - impact. He hopes his words are merely the vessel for something larger.


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