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On the Rape of Abner Louima in a Brooklyn Precinct House


Thirty years ago I was sitting in my friend Lennox Raphael's apartment smoking extremely strong grass. Grass stronger than I was used to. My girlfriend Charlotte Hastings was there. As well as another man. Lennox was from Trinidad. He was a poet, a playwright and a very good cook. It was at his house that I first ate curry, tasted chutney and ate really extraordinary vegetarian dishes. There was always a nice flow of energy between us. He was someone I really, really liked. The other man in the room was someone I had never met before. Like Lennox he was very dark and he was also quite big. He had a real softness to his face. We passed a joint back and forth. The man was lost in his thoughts, doodling intently--I thought nervously--on a piece of paper a little to the side of him. Suddenly I fixated on the pen. I saw the pen as a weapon. He is going to stab me with it. Come on he's just lost in his thoughts. He was lost in his thoughts. Just lost in his thoughts. He's going to stab me. His face was soft. He was going to stab me. Absolutely no hostility was coming towards me. He's going to stab me. My fear and panic were acute. I settled myself down. When he left the room for a few minutes I told Charlotte, who like me was white, who had grown up poor and on welfare, about what had happened. She answered in a voice laced with contempt "Why don't you just fight him already and get it over with." What I heard her say was "Why don't you just fuck him already and get it over with." Which was, of course, even more to the point.

  Robert Roth__

© Minerva González-Suvidad: "Naturaleza" turmeric ink, coffee ink, acrylic on canvas 15 x 11

© Minerva González-Suvidad: "Naturaleza" turmeric ink, coffee ink, acrylic on canvas 15 x 11


A Confession

The day after he was
nailed in his vestibule
in a lightning crucifixion

I knelt before you
in silence
on National Poetry Day

behind a sign on which
I’d scrawled
“Four minutes for Amadou”.

You squirmed,
you glared,
and walked out.

Today I do not kneel,
or hug a placard
as a shield.

I do not stay silent—
not for four minutes,
not for a second.

Today I shout
in the name
of Amadou.

You, in turn, may
stand and glare.
You may choose

to walk away.
You may yell,
“Go back to India.

What’s this to you?
It’s none of your
fucking business.”

What if I’d confess,
“But I’m the son
of a slave holder”?

Would you then
crawl with me
under the skin

and join me in
the song of blood
and wail with me

to know we’re one
in the belly
of my scream?

  Ralph Nazareth__