Kodak + Self the Poet – “The Line Up” @WANPOETRY (SLAM MANIA 2019)

– I’m a six-two, light
skinned, bald headed brother. But I look like– – I’m six-12 and a half,
95 pounds soaking wet, don’t you see my long, luxurious locks? – [Both] And somehow, we
all fit the description, sketchy dispatch draws conclusions. Six foot, black, heavyset male
with tattoos and sunglasses. Translation: black. Male. Insert false description here. It’s shocking how a little static can bring your lightning to a situation. Where stereotypes go in in one ear, banging the drum of the other. Damn, I must’ve sounded familiar. Suspect, dark as witness room. Shirt, white as the officer that would’ve handcuffed my shadow but it was already on the ground, silent and compliant. My walk, must’ve been running
too close to his privilege. Must’ve jogged his memory. Don’t all blacks look like
guilty when approached behind one-way mirrors
or interrogation rooms? Downtown isn’t a
destination for discussion. Can’t convince a cop that you didn’t do the crime they committed? If they’re doing the convicting, if your complexion closes the case, when the cage is closed,
we all look alike. Somehow, we all fit the description. Skin, saturated in sin. We all got locks, all dreaded together, all six feet tall but still got shrinkage. My strides say, “Run.” My legs, they say, “Escape.” My skin say, “Black.” They say, “Guilty.” Say, “Not worthy of
being proven innocent.” To hide the guilt, you
must be black, I mean blue. The most common characteristics
in interrogation rooms. But in a world where six is nine, will cuffs still judge
a wrist by its color, would you mirror our movements? Will blue lives matter? Would you feel silenced if
we said, “All lives matter?” If one way mirrors were turned,
would you still see guilty? Still talk to the man in it? Would you dare look or
be afraid to approach? Afraid to see that thin line
between cop and convict? If you stood in the light, we’d say, “They all look alike.
All they eyes say killer. Hands say murderer. All look angry, yet so
damn trigger-happy.” Fingerprints left at the scene
begging to be positive ID. Their DNA is tricky. Always falling out of cuffs. Twisting and bending the system. Keep calm. Don’t lift your voice. Raising your hands won’t save you. Never stand up for yourself. No matter your size, they’ll
still see you at six feet. Under. (audience applauds)

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