Point blank is not blank. Right in my face, there, dangling
from the thin white arms of a psychological lynching tree
hangs me, disguised as a sign, a poster-child piece of paper.
Point blank, an all-every night billboard without a hint of
apology. Dangling dead-stiff as if a Tivoli Theatre marquee
all too eager to sell the price of a ticket, admission fee, me:
“Just another city nigger-night boy shot dead in the head,”
blood red for nothing out of the ordinary but the politics of
“pure heroin,” the undisputed geo-science king of the flat
screen version of Ugly Love. I’ve seen it too many times.
The reviewer’s review raver than a rave review: “Riveting,
Wonderfully Offensive, the Ugliest ‘Picture Show’ of the Year”
playing near here, now playing everywhere disguised wisely-
unwise by that word that rhymes with trigger-happy white
policemen. The B/W male photograph war in America
on full display. Expensively cheap white, white war-sheets
that sleep soundly with Negro women, but know only
the hydrogen peroxide bleaching white power of a washing
machine gun. How long did it take white men swinging
their wash-day night white sticks to change the complexion
of the American Negro race from Black to Colored to “Nigger
don’t move, hands up in the air, touch the sky, face the wall?”
Copyright (c) 2017 by Earl S. Braggs. All rights reserved. Earl S. Braggs is the Herman H. Battle Professor of African American Studies at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. He is the author of ten collections of poetry. Braggs is the recipient of the Anhinga Prize, the Jack Kerouac Prize, the Gloucester College Prize, and the Cleveland State Prize.