Posts Tagged ‘Trayvon Martin’

Louis Esterhuizen. Rita Dove reageer op skietdood van tienerseun

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

 

In die VSA heers daar groot ontsteltenis oor die 17-jarige tiener, Trayvon Martin, se moordenaar wat verlede week deur die hof in Florida vrygespreek is. George Zimmerman en Martin was glo in ‘n bakleiery betrokke, waarop die gewapende Zimmerman die ongewapende tiener doodgeskiet het. Die hof se bevinding was dat Zimmerman uit selfverdediging opgetree het.

In ‘n sterk bewoorde reaksie op die New York Times se webblad skryf Charles M. Blow onder andere soos volg: “In a way, the not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for his killing of Trayvon Martin was more powerful than a guilty verdict could ever have been. It was the perfect wrenching coda to a story that illustrates just how utterly and completely our system of justice — both moral and legal — failed Martin and his family […] The system began to fail Martin long before that night. The system failed him when Florida’s self-defense laws were written, allowing an aggressor to claim self-defense in the middle of an altercation — and to use deadly force in that defense — with no culpability for his role in the events that led to that point. The system failed him because of the disproportionate force that he and the neighborhood watchman could legally bring to the altercation — Zimmerman could legally carry a concealed firearm, while Martin, who was only 17, could not. The system failed him when the neighborhood watchman grafted on stereotypes the moment he saw him, ascribing motive and behavior and intent and criminal history to a boy who was just walking home […] The whole system failed Martin. What prevents it from failing my children, or yours? I feel that I must tell my boys that, but I can’t. It’s stuck in my throat. It’s an impossibly heartbreaking conversation to have. So, I sit and watch in silence, and occasionally mouth the word, ‘breathe,’ because I keep forgetting to. “

Maar nie almal sit net stil en kyk nie. Veral nie die voormalige poet laureate, Rita Dove, nie. Sy het naamlik ‘n aangrypende gedig vir Trayvon Martin geskryf wat by The Root gelees kan word. Ook City Lights Booksellers het op ‘n besonderse manier reageer. Hulle het naamlik ‘n uiters toepaslike gedig van Langston Hughes, “Kids Who Die” op hul webblad, Abandon All Despair Ye Who Enter Here, geplaas.

Die betrokke gedigte volg hieronder.

***

Trayvon, Redux

It is difficult/to get the news from poems /yet men die miserably every day/for lack/of  what is found there./Hear me out/for I too am concerned/and every man/who wants to die at peace in his bed/besides.

William Carlos Williams, “Asphodel, that Greeny Flower”

Move along, you dont belong here.
This is what you’re thinking.  Thinking
drives you nuts these days, all that
talk about rights and law abidance when
you can’t even walk your own neighborhood
in peace and quiet, get your black ass gone.
You’re thinking again.  Then what?
Matlock‘s on TV and here you are,
vigilant, weary, exposed to the elements
on a wet winter’s evening in Florida
when all’s not right but no one sees it.
Where are they – the law, the enforcers
blind as a bunch of lazy bats can be,
holsters dangling from coat hooks above their desks
as they jaw the news between donuts?

Hey!  It tastes good, shoving your voice
down a throat thinking only of sweetness.
Go on, choke on that.  Did you say something?
Are you thinking again?  Stop! – and
get your ass gone, your blackness,
that casual little red riding hood
Im just on my way home attitude
as if this street was his to walk on.
Do you do hear me talking to you? Boy.
How dare he smile, jiggling his goodies
in that tiny shiny bag, his black paw crinkling it,
how dare he tinkle their laughter at you.

Here’s a fine basket of riddles:
If a mouth shoots off and no one’s around
to hear it, who can say which came first –
push or shove, bang or whimper?
Which is news fit to write home about? 

© 2013 by Rita Dove

***

Kids Who Die

This is for the kids who die,
Black and white,
For kids will die certainly.
The old and rich will live on awhile,
As always,
Eating blood and gold,
Letting kids die.

Kids will die in the swamps of Mississippi
Organizing sharecroppers
Kids will die in the streets of Chicago
Organizing workers
Kids will die in the orange groves of California
Telling others to get together
Whites and Filipinos,
Negroes and Mexicans,
All kinds of kids will die
Who don’t believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment
And a lousy peace.

Of course, the wise and the learned
Who pen editorials in the papers,
And the gentlemen with Dr. in front of their names
White and black,
Who make surveys and write books
Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die,
And the sleazy courts,
And the bribe-reaching police,
And the blood-loving generals,
And the money-loving preachers
Will all raise their hands against the kids who die,
Beating them with laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets
To frighten the people—
For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people—
And the old and rich don’t want the people
To taste the iron of the kids who die,
Don’t want the people to get wise to their own power,
To believe an Angelo Herndon, or even get together

Listen, kids who die—
Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you
Except in our hearts
Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp
Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field,
Or the rivers where you’re drowned like Leibknecht
But the day will come—
You are sure yourselves that it is coming—
When the marching feet of the masses
Will raise for you a living monument of love,
And joy, and laughter,
And black hands and white hands clasped as one,
And a song that reaches the sky—
The song of the life triumphant
Through the kids who die.

© Langston Hughes