“400 Days” by Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval

400 DAYS

October 20, 2014 – November 24, 2015

after Nazim Hikmet

in 400 days
i’ve gone thru 3 journals
on 2 books, a play & a movie
about house music.
i left a lover
& found another.
lost two teeth
got four stitches, broke
a finger in a fight
& sat in the barber shop for 24 fades
mostly from Rob at Chicago’s Best
except when i’m traveling & i’ve learned
to not get a haircut while traveling.

i’ve had students graduate
grow hair on their face, have sex
for the 1st time. some are starting
college, a few have 
been shot
1 thru the lung
he lived, made a mix tape.
1 in a parked car
waiting to see his son
who will now wait
the city has opened
of new restaurants, private social clubs
closed public schools
put on a halloween parade
an irish day parade
a columbus day parade
a new year’s celebration
erected condos
& never once 
there have been thousands
of masterpieces
artists painted
on the streets 
for the people. but
the city removed
cuz art is racialized
& the city
thinks some artists
i started 
eating chicken again
in the last 400 days, the doctor said
less sugar.
the city is chicken
to apologize 
& will never say anything sweet.
the city makes Black 
a target. a video game
a city of zombies, the walking dead.
for 400 days CPD, the state’s attorney
the mayor’s office hid evidence
tape, bullets 
in Black bodies 
& didn’t apologize
for any of it.
400 days ago
toddlers were not
yet & now cry thru the night. 
they see a city 
of ghosts. walking 
Laquan, the other 
way, still shot
16 times.
no life 
in the eyes 
of cops, Anita, Mayor Rahm
look dead
into the camera 
& lie
for 400 days
the cubs threatened
but justice 
will have to wait
til next year

from Rattle #56, Summer 2017


Kevin Coval: “I am working on a collection of poems called A People’s History of Chicago, inspired by Howard Zinn, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others. This is one of those poems.” (website)

Rattle Logo