Monday, March 26, 2012

cartwheel on the blacktop (Trayvon Martin 2.0)

cartwheel on the blacktop

by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

he has wings in his shoes.

Trayvon yawns and stretches in the crook of the tree. Slept til dark again. Shrugs. Stretches out his retractable shoe gliders and hangs a slow swinging backflip out of the branches. Into the world again. Blows a kiss at one leaf. Turns to face home.

a rainbow in his mouth.

Notices he is on tilt two-thousand. Off-balance more than the sway of waking up. Sugar low. Annoyed to have to hunt for convenience and its stores of chemical fructose. This is a manicured neighborhood. No fruit in these trees but him himself at twilight.

he has sweet tea time travel in a can

Sweetness reloading he blinks at the mission message in his eyelids. Find the little brother. Teach him about sugar. Teach him that he too can fly as nonchalant as hammock rope. Give him one swift hug and then return to the future to plug in his fingers. Banjo music a much better charge than this watered down fuel. Can’t wait to get home. He slept into dark. On this world of all worlds. Right during the time of the nightvision nearsightedness. Sigh. He might be late. His shoes brush the sidewalk.

his hooded sweatshirt forcefield threaded through with angel kevlar

Behind him the loud machine for the heavyfooted hunter slows down. He has been detected. Will his teenage camoflauge help him or hurt. He sighs. He is so young. Only four hundred years old. He shakes his head and looks back. Remember how they used guns. Remember how they never felt safe enough to breathe or whole enough to listen. Overslept. Over. He sends one telepathic message to the little brother waiting. Quickly embroiders it with sweetness. Love.

At the moment of the explosion the sweatshirt flickers hieroglyphics. Blue light math. He squeezes the can. Liquid sprays everywhere. Hands to the pavement. He wonders if the little brother will understand what he must do.

*this is a response to

**the title "Cartwheel on the Blacktop" comes from a poetic response in our intergenerational "The Way the World Begins Again" workshop on June Jordan's children's literature at the Split this Rock Festival in Washington, DC.

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