Poetry: Emmett and Tamir

Emmett your mother didn’t get to see you past 12

Tamir your mother didn’t get to see you past 12

 

Emmett, they laid you out like a dish under a ditch

Tamir, they laid you out like a dish on top of a ditch.

 

Emmett

Tamir,

they ripped back your scalp like a tangerine,

 

Y’all boys are so far apart but so close that

y’all lived the same life and died the same death.

I stay up past 12, work laid out on top of my desk,

Stress pulling back my hair like a scab.

 

Emmett was grinded in a gin

Tamir was a target within shooting range

While I’m loitering on my phone,

I don’t mean any harm.

 

Emmett made it back in pieces

Tamir made it back in pieces

In a casket

body bag

newsroom

His mother’s arms.

Every day, I am in pieces.

 

Emmett was mistaken for a bachelor

Tamir was mistaken for a toy soldier

 

Emmett was only visiting

Tamir was only shopping

Emmett was just looking

Tamir was just playing

I’m just trying to graduate­­

Alive.

 

Emmett and Tamir

lived the same life on different timelines.

 

But which is worse,

A frail noose or a gun barrel,

Both are holes used to strain

The life out of anything.

Out of Emmett

Out of Tamir.

Out of Emmett and Tamir,

What’s the difference in a black boy dying

then and now if they’re both dead?

Emmett was afraid

Tamir was afraid

the men who killed them were afraid,

 

Emmett and Tamir

I was once your age.

I remember fighting off a bastard bully

Because I wouldn’t let him keep my toy.

But the both of you will be remembered as

Little boys who didn’t know how

To take care of their toys.

Y’all were young black boys

who didn’t hit puberty,

But were seen as threats to your society.

 

Emmett

Tamir

I will not give up on you.

 

Emmett

Tamir

I will not be another stigma.

 

Emmett

Tamir

I will not be another black boy

who was killed like you.

 

By DWIGHT JAMES III / Contributing Writer

Dwight James III is a freshman Chemical Engineering major. He’s an aspiring writer, spoken word poet, and actor that enjoys community service and exploring leadership opportunities. His first self-published chapbook, Eldest, releases on his little sister’s birthday, September 17th.

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