In a Variety of Bodies
By Sean DesVignes

In August of 2012, two GOP members were ejected from a Republican National Convention for throwing peanuts at a BLK camerawoman from CNN while saying, “this is how we feed animals”

i. men become boys

In what time period did the phrase,
“we don’t want you here,”
not burn an exit in your blood?
Niggers are the only people
who would walk down a street
a day after seeing
a dead body on that same street.

ii. The woman’s only song

Fatherless hearted,
die unjustly, unsolved.
In a battle of arms,
our shotguns collect dust,
nothing more than feng shui for the living room.
Yes, we are angry, but
we are also embarrassing & pink with sympathy.
We break simple &
smile after being slapped.
Deep within us, it is august always.
What is forgiveness
but some righteous bird
getting caught in our throats?
Knowing good & God well
our fathers wouldn’t allow you to live.

iii. the camera

After the incident, every BLK person in America went to BLK PWR Headquarters to figure out the most effective course of action. Once they all were there, the silhouette of a fist & an actual fist held a staring contest against each other to prove which one was the more useless. Perhaps BLK people would be more formidable if they were built like me, actually black & not just shades of brown that ad-lib the darkness. I propose for all BLK people to be remodeled — made into boxes with impenetrable circuitry, crystal-clear vision & run on rechargeable lithium-ion because they’re good at running. Maybe then things would not be thrown at them out of fear it would crack the lens. What if BLK people were like me, having to be held over shoulder to be maneuvered, knees slightly bent for more control of the device? Which is to say, what if BLK people were too heavy to be manipulated? But I digress, I’m just a video camera, I don’t adhere to race; a camera is only as good as a king, for it can see the tragedy but cannot stop it.

iv. the peanuts mid-throw

So small & easily
manipulated. This is what they
think about you.
Be famous for it,
the way Achilleus was repeatedly crowned,
“Achilleus of the swift feet”
be the scared BLK woman
of the “must get out of here.”
(At least, be a nightgown sneaking off at night.)
Think of how CNN will devote
3 almost paragraphs to you, an identity thin
as the wrinkled impressions in peanut shells.
Since the court of public opinion
has already deemed you “animal,”
be the animal they cannot catch,
the species with distance for teeth.

Sean DesVignes is an Afro-Caribbean writer from Brooklyn, NY. A former NYC Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador, he is the author of the upcoming chapbook, Take My Eyes To The Dry Cleaners. He is also a 2-time member of the NYC-LouderARTS Slam Team. His literary honors include a Cave Canem fellowship & the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference.