Cathexis 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
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
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.
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 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
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.