Lynne Thomson

 

Lynne Thompson

 

(USA)

 

 

 

On Michael Brown Visiting His Grandmother

in Ferguson, Missouri, August 2013

 

      Reason       help me.                           the laws

are wrong and unjust laws.             the system

a wrong and unjust system. But, somehow, I have got

both.

 

The

plank bed,     loathsome food, the hard ropes shredded into oakum till

one’s finger-tips grow dull with pain,

the    harsh   orders

 

the silence, the solitude, the shame—each and all of these things

There is          a     single

 

degradation of the body   which I must                                    make     into a

soul.

 

 

On Michael Brown” is an erasure from De Profundis.

 “On Michael Brown, Visiting His Grandmother in Ferguson, Missouri, August, 2014” was previously published in the anthology Rubicon, Words & Art Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis (Sybaritic, Press, 2015) edited by Marie Lecrivain.
Post-racial race train

 

full the train                      the third or fourth carriage                     an empty seat

all the white faces

Ridiculous,

amazing, given all this time, how alarmed she still was at the sight of white faces.

She moved quickly         noticing only what

concerned her                                  not a single black face

all the other seats, except the one beside her, filling up; the furtive eyes at her,

then someone without a choice sitting next to her

 

 

Post-racial race train” is an erasure from Dionne Brand’s Sans Souciand was previously published at  festivalwriter.org

 

 

 

Trace

 

To unearth what came before, ask

how did they come?        when?

 

*

 

Around one hundred years before Daddy

left Barbados for New York, the schooner

 

Irene arrived in Havana,

1822, guns mounted. Two hundred eight-

 

eight of the three hundred thirty-one free

people put on board at Bonny disembarked

 

as slaves          run               run

 

Of his surname—Thompson—think: former

owner

last owner   names

lost                        run away

 

official records (State & church)                 run

 

baptism    marriage     oral history       maps

registers                        masks

 

    (run)                          wills & archives

 

         run away                                             away

 

slave complaints, debts, laws, (former slaves

as owners of slaves)

RUN

 

auctions                                     away

 

*

 

They entered here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________

 

BIO

Lynne Thomson is the author of two full-length collections, Beg No Pardon and Start With A Small Guitar, as well as three chapbooks. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Ecotone, Ploughshares, Room, and the African American Review, as well as the anthologies Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, Coiled Serpent, Poets Arising From the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles, and Resisting Arrest, Poems To Stretch The Sky.  A  2015-16 City of Los Angeles Fellow, Thompson is Reviews and Essays Editor for the literary journal, Spillway.

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