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The End of Peace (A Flower Crown)

Chief Turey, Chief of The Black Hammer Times


To pull something out of this earth, for one,

you need to crack it open, again & again,

work the raw metal through unforgiving ground.

Growth only comes after impossible toil.

A dead & rotten poplar tree still chokes,

digs its feet deep in the dirt, can still be

a motherfucker to fell, and still shakes

its neighbors on the way down. It takes every trick

in the book, the brute arts & the intricate,

a little sweat, some venom. It helps to be

ruthless, attack the roots, hack them with irons,

split bedrock, burn this bitch, a pinch of poison

works nicely, or just drown the goddamn tree

with animal blood, grip it by the crown.




Animal, Blood, Crip can be a crown,

cunt, cocksucker, clusterfuck, a communist

(that one always makes me laugh), criminal,

cannibal, delinquent, devil, public enemy,

faggot, fascist, FBI Most Wanted,

fugitive, gangster, ghetto, gutter mouth,

history, hustler, screaming homosexual,

Black Hitler (& how do you feel about Jews?)

Jihad, King Kong, psycho killer, loose cannon,

monster, menace, the n-word can be a crown,

race baiter, a riot, a racket, ratched

as all hell (fuck a talented tenth,

I’ll hang with the wretched of the earth), pansy.




I’ll hang with the wretched of the earth, panting

one final love letter to Nat Turner

before death ever takes me lying down.

Nah, Death will catch me wild-eyed and tall

in a field where all my enemies lay dead.

I’ll bury the flint of my hatred down with them,

or shed this body in red feathers of light.

There are two gods of death. One is the god

of shovels, whose hands must look like swords

to the poplar tree. Can you blame me

if I flick the blade sometimes? Let the iron

rake my tongue? O surgeon, pruning my hands

until there is nothing left but thorns. Aren’t I beautiful

when I’m angry? With a sword in my mouth?




When I’m angry, with a sword in my mouth,

how I would love to write about anything else.

A poem about a garden, for the garden’s sake.

For the blessed earth, and not the siblings

inside it. A body unsalted by rage.

I could have the words escape the jagged

trenches in my gut and call it a day.

A poem where planes drop cylinders

of soil over the avenues of Damascus.

This was supposed to be my day of rest,

but even rest can be a contradiction.

I am war against my own still waters.

The curses in my mouth when I awake each

morning without a drop of blood on my hands.




Mourning without a drop of blood on my hands

feels like whatever the opposite is

of being a ghost in a haunted house.

A bloody house that haunts me, drags its nails

across my hands, and fills my mouth with dirt.

In these times of Corona, and Colonialism,

I need whatever the opposite is

of an exorcism — the spirits of slain

Africans, and Palestinian children

tear down the Master’s house. The other god

of death, the god of hammers, whose arm swings

in my breast, I pray she posses me then.

I don’t want this world to kill me. I want

to pull something out of this earth for once.





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