Journalism In Verse

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Seeing White Supremacists in Charlottesville

in U.S. by

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA – August 12, 2017
I knew what it looked like before I saw it, as I’ve seen it, as

I’ve seen slavers and I’ve seen the eyes of my brother
when he’s yelling things past people he’s called family.

I’ve seen faces hardened like silt into stone with years of anger,
shock-drawn with coward. I knew the neo-nazis would be sick

and white and male, toting fire and petroleum, and that
this night was one night among many where their

throats scratched with more than the threat of violence.
I knew their handshakes were sweaty and firm with death.

I knew these men trailed young women in the night. Toted
pain, denial, and addiction like automatic weapons.

I knew they were coming from work, or psalms, or childcare
or class. I knew they proliferated like bombs.

I knew they clung to symbols like boys to lead tin soldiers and
clutched the metal coattails of histories they didn’t understand.

But I didn’t predict their faces lit up like Christmas carolers,
shameless as beasts, whitened by grocery store torches.

I didn’t know they had abandoned their hoods
or just how much they claimed the brutal allegiance of America.

 


Read More:
Donald Trump’s comments on Charlottesville legitimize violence by right wing extremists [Australian Broadcasting Corporation]
Charlottesville, Virginia is about choosing who we want to be as a nation [The Root]
The hoods are off [The Atlantic]

Jenna Spagnolo is the co-director of Poets Reading the News.

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