for Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu
“They were quite simply assassinated – targeted for their uniform...”
- WILLIAM BRATTON, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER
Gun to my head, if you asked me what a bad cop looks like, I’d say a thug. You’d clap back: what does a thug look like? Then, I’d turn tables, like what plays ‘thug music’: what comes to mind for you?, because I’d bet, if we engaged in this Corporate American taboo, what you’d call a thug, I’d call a cousin, and what my cousin would call a pig, you’d call a pulled pork sandwich. And on lunch break, we’d talk about how black people (mostly men like me) don’t smile in their pictures, each one taken a mug shot on reserve starting as far back as age thirteen, maybe younger. Probably. Truth is, I’ve rarely seen police officers (mostly the men) smile in their pictures, either; this, seeing the world from opposite sides. Eye-to-eye-to-eye: a single firearm drawn between two bodies when lightning strikes, and just that suddenly,
the sweetness of roses. A stone where the bones of a black person, of a white person, sleep. In our minds, not the Latino, not the Asian man on lunch break, eating sandwiches in their cruiser, dressed in uniform color of what we’ve said for so long suppresses the brightness of colors like they were to the bone, their pictures printed in all the newspapers, all over the TV screen, neither one of them smiling.
If I could ask them why?, I believe they’d tell me, very sweetly,it’s not because of what they saw before, but what they saw coming. Not the gun to their heads, but the gun to mine, to yours. In the end, we’re all killed for who we are. When we are. Where: assassinated all the same. Our blood the same, blue before it was red, or white, or brown, or yellow, or black, black, black.